Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
There's always pressure on players competing in the playoffs right before they enter free agency. As one of the three or four top players entering the open market this summer, Josh Smith's next contract will surely be affected by how well he plays, and how far his team goes, in these playoffs.
With the Atlanta Hawks down two games heading home, Smith came forth with a brilliant effort in Game 3, attempting seven of his 13 shots at the rim and staying away from his kryptonite: the jump shot.
It was also during Game 3 when Larry Drew moved Smith to the small forward position in order to have him guard Pacers All-Star Paul George, who Smith thoroughly dominated.
Smith came back in Game 4 with a 42-minute, 29-point, 11-rebound, four-assist, three-steal, one-block performance only he could do (he even made two three-pointers).
Despite coming back to Earth a bit in Game 5, with 14 points on 16 shots, and spending most of the game on the bench with foul trouble, Smith has spent the last week looking like someone who might actually be worth a max contract this summer.