Josh Smith & Dwight Howard
ORLANDO -- Before the Hawks tipped off against the Orlando Magic on Saturday, Hawks forward Josh Smith shared some lesser-known details about his friendship with Magic center Dwight Howard.
We went to the same preschool together," Smith said. "I've known Dwight since we were in diapers."
Before they played together on the Atlanta Celtics AAU team, they were competitors.
"Believe it or not, Dwight was a point guard at first," Smith said. "When we were like 11 or 12, he was a point guard. He ran point for his team."
Once they became teammates, they often played up an age group. Said Smith, "It helped us out playing up and being able to play against guys who we thought, ‘Man, he's 30! He's got a mustache!' "
On playing each other in the NBA: "We talk to each other, but it's not hard [playing against one another] because if you don't have the same color jersey on as me when the ball is thrown in the air, it's just an opponent. Then afterwards, we come back to our senses and we're friends. If you see us out there, he's trying to block my shot harder than anybody he's ever tried to block, and I'm trying to do the same thing."
Coach Mike Woodson praised rookie guard Jeff Teague for his defense in the past two games, notably against Boston point guard Rajon Rondo on Friday.
"We were talking about that [Saturday] in our film session," Woodson said. "The last two games, he's really tried to extend the defense up the floor, and he just needs to keep doing that."
Woodson put Teague in the game with 2:21 left in the first quarter Saturday, earlier than he generally sends him in the game.