It's time to plan for Mother's Day!

If you’re looking for fun and, in most cases, inexpensive ideas to get out of the house and celebrate the moms in your life on Mother’s Day (May 13 this year), here’s what’s happening!Moms and others can run like one during the Run Like a Mother 5K on May 13. The women-only race for ages 12 and up also includes a kids’ 1-mile run (boys and girls are allowed for that one). At the finish line, there’s a party with refreshments and fun for the kids. Registration for the race at the Kerr Family YMCA, 2500 Wakefield Pines Dr., Raleigh, is open now.The Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD, Nature Preserve in north Raleigh will host a May Day Open House from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., May 13. Registration is not required for this free event. The preserve is named after the property’s former owner, who was a well-known obstetrician and gynecologist. Her family spent many Mother’s Days celebrating on the property. The preserve will offer some special activities. It’s also a great place to explore.The N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill will host local celebrations of National Public Gardens Day during Mother’s Day weekend. Events are from May 10 to May 13. Among them is a Mother’s Day Walk from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 13 at the Mason Farm Biological Reserve. The Mason Farm’s “old farm trail” winds through 260 years of cultural and natural history. A naturalist will point out wildflowers and talk about the garden’s diversity and conservation efforts. Advanced registration is required. Spaces are expected to fill up quickly. So act fast. There is a $10 fee for for the walk.Noah’s Landing, the zoo in Coats, will host its annual Mother’s Day weekend events. Families can tour the zoo on their own (instead of joining the usual guided tours here) and learn all about the animals with the help of the zoo’s guides and volunteers. A zoo crew will have special kid-friendly activity stations with crafts and games. And, on May 13, the Wildlife Rescue Center in Sanford will have a special display of raptors. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 12, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., May 13. It’s $8 per person. Moms get in for half price with a kid’s paid admission. Coats is about 45 minutes to an hour from Raleigh.The Raleigh Rose Garden, which is next to the Raleigh Little Theatre near Cameron Village, will host a Mother’s Day Brunch on May 13, which happens to be the perfect time to visit this beautiful garden. The event includes an al fresco buffet brunch, souvenir professional portrait photo, live guitar music, a special gift for moms and a special appearance from Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella. The first seating is 10:30 a.m.; a second is at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $12 for kids ages 5 to 13. Kids under 5 are free. You could even pair the brunch with tickets to Dear Edwina Junior, a performance that’s part of RLT’s youth series. The show runs May 4 to May 20, including two showtimes on May 13.Marbles Kids Museum will have a weekend of mom-related fun. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 12 and May 13, Marbles will offer special activities throughout the downtown Raleigh museum. Kids can make paper flowers and homemade potpourri gift sachets for mom. There’s an ADF Project Dance workshop. And kids can treat their moms to a day at the movies. Moms can see “To the Arctic 3D” for free with a paying son or daughter at Marbles’ IMAX theater on Mother’s Day weekend.Just for moms … SweetBottoms Baby Boutique will have a special after hours event for moms from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., May 12. They’ll have an acoustic singer, manicures, pedicures, massages, wine and, of course, lots of cute stuff for babies and young kids. The store is at 2855 Jones Franklin Rd., Raleigh (near the Cary border). Sounds like a fun moms’ night out opportunity.The N.C. Museum of History will have a free make it, take it drop-in activity from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., May 12. Visitors can learn about North Carolina’s rhododendrons and make a paper version to take home to mom or grandma. Not specifically geared toward Mother’s Day, but the museum will also have a free concert from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 13, featuring Sheila Kay Adams. Adams performs English, Scottish, and Irish ballads passed down since the mid-1700s.Historic Yates Mill County Park, 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd., will host a Mother’s May Day Hike from 11 a.m. to noon, May 13. See the park’s wildlife and learn about the baby animals and their mothers. The cost is $5 per family. Call 919-856-6672 to register.And for sports-loving moms, the Carolina Mudcats will have a 2 p.m. game on May 13. Kids run the bases after every Sunday home game (field conditions permitting). Bugs Bunny will make an appearance. Tickets start around $5. Sounds like lots of family fun!

Stock Analysts’ Ratings Reiterations for April, 27th (AMZN, ANGI, BWA, CNX, COG, CTCT, KOG, LIZ, MJN, RRC)

Stock Analysts’ ratings reiterations for Friday, April 27th:Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Deutsche Bank.Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Benchmark Co..Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) had its “hold” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.Angie’s List (NASDAQ: ANGI) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.BorgWarner Inc (NYSE: BWA) had its “hold” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Jefferies Group.CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Brean Murray.Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT) had its “positive” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: KOG) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.Liz Claiborne, Inc. (NYSE: LIZ) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at KeyBanc.Mead Johnson Nutriti (NYSE: MJN) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Deutsche Bank.NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N) had its “neutral” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Canaccord Genuity. They noted that the move was a valuation call.Range Resources (NYSE: RRC) had its “hold” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.SolarWinds, Inc. (NYSE: SWI) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Needham & Company.Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA) had its “buy” rating re-affirmed by analysts at Needham & Company.Stay on top of stock analysts' coverage with our daily email newsletter that provides a concise summary of analysts’ upgrades, downgrades and price target changes. Click here to register.

Kentucky Derby Week: Baffert rebounds from heart attack

April 29, 2012 12:00 am By Beth Harris / The Associated Press Bob Baffert is happy to be anywhere these days, considering a heart attack flattened him in Dubai last month.”After it was over, it felt like, 'Man, I just, I got a second chance here. … It was just a weird scare,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “I've got to redo, change my lifestyle for the best. I've got to take care of myself like I take care of my horses.”Life is good right now.He's got the likely favorite in the Kentucky Derby with Bodemeister, a talented colt named after his son, Bode, who is named after dad's ski pal, Bode Miller.Bodemeister stamped himself as a standout with his 91/2-length win in the Arkansas Derby, the most impressive performance in a season of prep races that have done little to clarify a muddled Derby picture. A full field of 20 horses is expected for the 11/4-mile race, and it will be one of the deepest and most talented when they break from the gate Saturday at Churchill Downs.”All 20 horses are stronger than I can remember in years,” said Dr. Kendall Hansen, whose light gray colt, Hansen, carries the family name and will be bet heavily. “There's no horse that's setting the world on fire yet. It's nice that you're not running against a Northern Dancer or a Secretariat. There's a lot of horses that have a chance going into the Derby.”Injuries that derailed favorites I Want Revenge and Quality Road in 2009; Eskendereya in '10, and Uncle Mo last year have not been a problem. Rather, it has been inconsistency among the top 3-year-olds that has opened the door for a handful of colts to wear the garland of red roses in the winner's circle.Bodemeister is arguably the most talented 3-year-old this year, although he lacks seasoning, never having raced as a 2-year-old. Baffert had him playing catch-up, with the colt making four starts in the run-up to the Derby. The only other Derby candidate to race that much is Prospective.”I just took my time with him,” Baffert said. “He was just immature. I wasn't in a big hurry with him, so I'm glad I did. It made him a better horse.”Baffert spaced out Bodemeister's races, giving the colt plenty of rest between starts. Now, he'll be asked to win the Derby off a three-week turnaround from his dominant win in Arkansas. Baffert, who has won the Derby three times but not since 2002, also will saddle Liaison.”He's getting better with each and every start, so, if he runs his same race back. that puts him right there,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who will be aboard Bodemeister in the Derby for just the second time.Baffert demurs on Bodemeister as the likely favorite, suggesting Union Rags or Hansen could claim such high-profile status. Still, Baffert thrives on coming to the Derby with a real shot, and he simply is grateful to be around at all.The past four Derby winners had just two prep races as 3-year-olds, including Super Saver in 2010. Among this year's top contenders, Union Rags was 3-1 as a 2-year-old; Creative Cause was 3-2, and Gemologist was 3-0 and has won both of his starts this year.”We'll continue to see winners of the Kentucky Derby come from all different angles with various prep programs. It's all about everything going just right on that particular day and liking the surface on however it's playing that day,” said Todd Pletcher, who won his first Derby with Super Saver and trains Gemologist.”There's so many variables that I don't think there's an exact science to it. We've seen all those things change, and a lot of the so-called rules of having to win the Kentucky Derby a certain way have sort of all been shattered in the last 10 years or so.”The 138th edition of the Derby promises speed in the form of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Hansen and Trinniberg, winner of the Swale and Bay Shore in his past two starts but who never has run farther than seven furlongs.Hansen led all the way in beating Union Rags last year in the BC Juvenile. Each of the previous four Juvenile winners failed to reach the Derby's starting gate, but this year eight Juvenile starters likely will run. Five of those eight were the top five finishers — Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause, Dullahan and Take Charge Indy.Michael Matz is back at the Derby with Union Rags, six years after he trained Barbaro to victory. Barbaro stunningly broke down in the Preakness, leaving fans crying at the track. His subsequent battle to overcome those injuries won him a huge following that continued even after his death months later.The 138th Kentucky Derby Favorites5-1, Bodemeister: Record is 4-2-2-05-1, Union Rags: Record is 6-4-1-17-1, Gemologist: Record is 5-5-0-010-1, Dullahan: Record is 8-2-2-212-1, Creative Cause: Record is 8-4-2-2Note: order of Associated Press “Run for the Roses” rankings. Odds are from Glantz-Culver line.Note: Post position draw is 5 p.m. Wednesday (TV: NBC Sports Network). Odds are futures odds. First Published 2012-04-29 04:12:17

FEEDBACK: Brandon Inge should be cheered out of town

Basically, what you got from Brandon Inge is a .234 hitter who averaged 16 homers and 68 RBI.For years, the Tigers tried to bring other players in to replace Inge. Maybe that was the reason for turning on him. Heck, if management doesn’t think the guy can play, why should the fans?Be it Miguel Cabrera, Wilson Betemit or Don Kelly, Inge was like the Eveready Bunny as he kept going and going and going — nothing special, just average.Every time the Tigers brought someone in to replace Inge, Inge insisted he could play. Maybe that was it. Bad attitude, not a team player.Tell that to Alex Avila, who said Inge treated him like a younger brother for years when Avila was just a kid hanging around the clubhouse.Was it time for Inge to go?Sure. In 102 games last year, Inge hit just .197 with three homers and 23 RBI. In 20 plate appearances this year, Inge was batting a meager .100 with two hits in 20 plate appearances.Inge was not the reason the Tigers won the AL Central Division crown in 2011 or the main cog on the World Series team, nor the reason they lost 119 games in 2003.He was Brandon Inge. Plain and simple.Now that he’s gone, now that Inge is no longer the punching bag for Tiger fans to take their frustration out on, the question is: whose next? Continued… 1 2 3 4 See Full Story

AP source: 3B Brandon Inge to sign with A’s

Third baseman Brandon Inge has agreed to sign with the Oakland Athletics, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Sunday.Inge gives Oakland experience at a position that has been mix-and-match so far – and some versatility considering he can also play several other spots.The deal was pending a physical and final paperwork, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because nothing had been finalized and the A’s were yet to make a formal announcement.Inge was released by the Tigers on Thursday after batting .100 (2 for 20) with one home run and two RBIs in nine games this season. Inge, who turns 35 on May 19, joins his first new team in his 12th major league season. In Detroit, he played mostly third base, but he has also caught, played the outfield and second base.He’ll try to fill a huge void at third, where the A’s lost projected starter Scott Sizemore to a season-ending knee injury in the first full-squad workout of spring training Feb. 27. Oakland manager Bob Melvin has tried Josh Donaldson, Eric Sogard and Luke Hughes in the spot so far. That trio left for the current road trip batting a combined .111 with eight errors.”We have who we have,” Melvin said last week.It’s a far cry from the sure-handed play the A’s used to get from six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez at third. Oakland thought it had the answer in Sizemore, who also came from the Tigers in a trade last May.Inge is a .234 career hitter with 140 homers and 589 RBIs.

Rondo loses his head as Celtics lose opener – Obnoxious Boston Fan – Boston.com

Marquette University honored Doc Rivers as its Alumnus of the Year on Saturday. But it was the Atlanta Hawks who schooled Rivers and the Boston Celtics Sunday night. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo decided to act like he was in kindergarten, threw a tantrum, got ejected and is looking at a serious timeout. Rondo’s inner-child returned like Chucky in the final minute of Boston’s 83-74 Game 1 loss to the Hawks. But this wasn’t “Child’s Play,” even though it was incredibly childish. Brandon Bass was called for a foul on Josh Smith after they wrangled over a loose ball with 41 seconds to play. The Celtics had cut Atlanta’s once 19-point lead down to four and would have gotten at least two more possessions with just the foul call. But Rondo wanted a jump ball instead of the foul along with the rest of Celtics Nation and about half the fans at Phillips Arena. While we screamed at the TV, Rondo did us one better and tore into Davis while smacking his hands in front of the ref. That was good for a technical. But as Davis walked away, Rondo followed, stumbled for a step, then threw a chest bump into Davis’ back. Watch it for yourself: Arguing a call at such a key point in the game – questionable. Yelling and pointing at the ref in the first game of playoffs – disappointing. Chest bumping the ref from behind while he was walking away – idiotic, selfish and immature. Rond-oh! Attacking an official from behind, whether it’s with your hands or body, gets you banned in Little League. But this is the NBA. Acting like children and fathering children are both prized character traits. “I deserved the first tech,” Rondo said after the game. “As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into me. I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him, but that’s what it appears to be. It’s out of my control.” Later, he offered some more excuses: Charles Barkley nailed it with his TNT post-game assessment of Rondo’s claim: “He’s lying.” Rondo’s problem is just that – a lack of control. Bass got the foul whistled against him and shrugged his shoulders. Rondo decided to run the ref. (As an aside, the TNT telecast of the game offered up a commercial for “That’s My Boy,” the upcoming Adam Sandler flick that features a cameo by Rex Ryan. Got to wondering when was the last time either one of those guys produced a winner?) Rondo is looking at a minimum of a one-game suspension, especially given his track record and the two-game ban he got for tossing a ball at an official during another tantrum in February. Four weeks ago, we called out Rondo for showboating on national TV at the expense of those mundane contests against New Jersey and Toronto. Sunday was no exception. Rondo led the Celtics with 20 points on 10-for-18 shooting, and had game-highs of 11 assists and four steals along with his game-high two technicals. He played well enough to put the Celtics in position to win and then cemented the loss. If the Celtics had been able to complete their comeback Sunday, the Hawks would have been finished. The Celtics came out flat, lifeless and lazy. They had more rust than the Longfellow Bridge. The Hawks played young, big and fast while the Celtics plodded through the first 40 minutes looking old, small and slow. Rondo’s lopsided scoring was by design in this game, as the Hawks smothered Paul Pierce. The Truth hurt badly as he shot a horrendous 5 for 19, missing all six of his three-point attempts. Boston’s backcourt of Rondo and Avery Bradley combined for 30 shots, 30 points points and one ejection. The Celtics, however, failed to hit a 3-pointer for the first time in a postseason game since a 99-98 double OT loss to the Charlotte Hornets at the old Garden on May 1, 1993. It wasn’t for lack of trying, as Boston went 0 for 11 from behind the arc. Ray Allen, you were missed. Smith was the superior No. 5 on the floor Sunday, scoring 22 points and looking like a younger, bigger and quicker version of Kevin Garnett most of the night. Too bad those trade rumors involving Smith and the Celtics were just that, rumors. Rondo’s outburst and volatility were not surprising. The timing was catastrophic. Whatever hope the Celtics had in forcing OT Sunday was evaporated with the first technical. Jeff Teague and Kirt Hinrich played Rondo and Bradley evenly, combining for 27 points and hitting six of eight 3-pointers. Without Rondo and (most likely) Allen in Game 2, the Celtics could extend that 3-pointless string another 48 minutes. For all of the maturity, experience and veteran skill the “big, bad” Celtics bring to the postseason, they still can’t keep Rondo from being Rondo. Let me guess, this is just Rondo’s “competitive nature” showing itself. There’s passion and fire. Hit opposing players, but not the ref. Professional athletes figure out where the line is and usually straddle it as best they can. It’s the fine difference between “Cowboy Up” and “Chicken and Beer.” Drink in the clubhouse all you want as long – as it doesn’t affect the outcome. Play aggressively all the time and argue calls one in a while, but you can’t attack the refs and potentially cost your team a a game or two at the start of the playoffs. Especially as the team’s floor leader. Marquette had several distinguished alumni – not including D-Wade – who offered Doc real competition for his honor. In the meantime, they told me they wanted their degree back when they heard about this blog. Rondo needs few more degrees of maturity. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at . And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.

Brandon Inge to get Oakland As deal: AP source

  April 30, 2012 (OAKLAND, Calif.) — Third baseman Brandon Inge has agreed to sign with the Oakland Athletics, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Sunday. Inge gives Oakland experience at a position that has been mix-and-match so far — and some versatility considering he can also play several other spots. The deal was pending a physical and final paperwork, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because nothing had been finalized and the A’s were yet to make a formal announcement. Inge was released by the Tigers on Thursday after batting .100 (2 for 20) with one home run and two RBIs in nine games this season. Inge, who turns 35 on May 19, joins his first new team in his 12th major league season. In Detroit, he played mostly third base, but he has also caught, played the outfield and second base. He’ll try to fill a huge void at third, where the A’s lost projected starter Scott Sizemore to a season-ending knee injury in the first full-squad workout of spring training Feb. 27. Oakland manager Bob Melvin has tried Josh Donaldson, Eric Sogard and Luke Hughes in the spot so far. That trio left for the current road trip batting a combined .111 with eight errors. “We have who we have,” Melvin said last week. It’s a far cry from the sure-handed play the A’s used to get from six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez at third. Oakland thought it had the answer in Sizemore, who also came from the Tigers in a trade last May. Inge is a .234 career hitter with 140 homers and 589 RBIs. (Copyright ©2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) Get more Sports » sports

WAOW – Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports”Occupy Madison” prepares for eviction

MADISON (WKOW) – People living at the “Occupy Madison” site on East Washington Avenue are getting ready to move out. An April 30 eviction deadline was set for those living on the city property in mid-April. “All the plastic tents are ones constructed by people on the site and then everything else kind of evolved from there,” said Brent Nelson, who's been living in “Occupy Madison” since October. Nelson said there are about 60 or 70 people residing within the hoop houses and tents sprawled across the area. “I don't know what a lot of these people are going to do,” Nelson said about the upcoming deadline. Others are concerned as well. Friday, three attorneys filed an injunction and a motion for a temporary retraining order against city officials on behalf of three homeless individuals living on the site. “It was to extend the period that they would be able to stay here until a suitable alternative was found,” Attorney Patricia Hammel told 27 News. Hammel was one of the attorneys involved in the case, but withdrew herself Sunday because of a conflict of interest at her law firm. “They have no place else to go,” Hammel said. “This, to them, is a safe alternative to living on the street, living in parks, sleeping up at the Capitol,” she continued. Now, their future remains unclear. Hammel said after speaking with City Attorney's Office, she believes hoop houses will be able to stay up until Wednesday and no action will be taken to get people out of the site until a hearing Monday afternoon on the injunction.  

NBA Playoffs 2012: Can Andrew Bynum Be the Postseason’s Most Dominant Player?

The Los Angeles Lakers Lakers left plenty of impressions in their 103-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, but none were bigger than center Andrew Bynum’s triple-double. Bynum’s 10-point, 13-rebound, 10-block performance was the Lakers’ first postseason triple-double since Magic Johnson accomplished the feat in 1991, and his 10 blocks ties Bynum with Mark Eaton and Hakeem Olajuwon for the most blocks in a single game in postseason history. And if Bynum can avoid another injury, even more postseason glory could be just down the road. In an article I said that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant would only win his sixth ring if Bynum captured his first NBA Finals MVP award, and Bynum’s Game 1 performance only reinforces my theory. Bryant was the game’s leading scorer with 31 points but Bynum controlled the paint and the game whenever he was in the contest, and Denver’s hopeless forays to the rim continued to grow more comical by the minute. I’m pretty sure Bynum blocked at least one shot from each member of the Nuggets’ starting five, and that rare ability to determine a contest without scoring points could be a game-changer. Bynum has always had the size, talent and potential to be a superior defensive player, but now it appears that he truly understands how much his play on that end of the court impacts his team. In fact, in the fourth quarter Bynum was much more concerned with adding to his blocks totals rather than his points, and that’s great for the Lakers and scary for the rest of the NBA. I know that Derrick Rose’s injury gives the Miami Heat the inside track to a return trip to the NBA Finals, and the versatility of forward LeBron James makes this a likelihood. In the Heat’s Game 1 win over the New York Knicks, James scored 32 points and shot 71 percent from the field while showing the versatility that makes him one of the postseason’s most dangerous players. James’ ability to dominate a game from multiple areas makes him arguably the NBA’s most important player when it comes to his team’s chances of reaching the NBA Finals, but where would you place Bynum on that list after his own Game 1 performance? If Bynum can consistently defend the lane like he did against the Nuggets in Game 1, then the Lakers will certainly be a tough out, but the team has the potential to be much better. Bryant’s 10-of-23 shooting performance was decent and Gasol’s 13-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist effort was strong, but what happens once all three players are in sync? Kobe’s nature will almost guarantee that Bynum will get less looks at the basket during the playoffs, but to Bynum’s credit, he may be beginning to realize that true greatness is not only found on the the offensive end of the court.Think about it.  In the space of a few weeks Bynum has etched himself into the annals of Lakers and NBA history with his 30-rebound game against the San Antonio Spurs late in the regular season, and Sunday’s gem against the Nuggets. Bynum’s game has progressed tremendously over the span of this short season, and his good health has apparently boosted Bynum’s confidence. There are few players in the NBA who have Bynum’s size, strength and presence, and there may be none who possess his talent and skill in the paint. There was a time in the NBA when titles were determined by the dominance of the big men manning the middle of a team’s offense or defense, and Bynum’s potential may be an ode to those days. The Lakers may not be any closer to an NBA championship after their win over the Nuggets on Sunday afternoon, but if Bynum can sustain his focus and dominance how can you count them out?    

Josh Smith grows up for NBA playoff-bound Atlanta

Still, playing in Atlanta where the Hawks usually rank near the bottom of the league in attendance despite five straight trips to the playoffs, Smith’s stellar year has gone largely unnoticed.He was passed over again for his first trip to the All-Star Game — even after teammate Joe Johnson, who had been selected, couldn’t go because of an injury.”I think my teammates appreciate me,” Smith said. “The people who understand the game appreciate what I do. That’s all that matters. You have a lot of people who don’t know the game of basketball, who just go off what they hear and that’s what they say. It’s funny, but it’s life.”Smith sometimes wonders just how much his own organization values his game, complaining they haven’t lobbied hard enough for him to receive more league-wide recognition.”There’s a whole lot of stuff involved in that,” he said. “Your own team has to push you first for stuff like that before you ever get noticed. Every other team who has all-stars, who’ve been part of multiple all-stars, they push for their players. It boils down pretty much to how much does the team want to invest in you. Not just on the court, but definitely off the court, too.”Smith, who has one more year left on his contract, heard his name thrown around at the trade deadline, though the Hawks made no serious attempt to move him. But, if it becomes clear that he doesn’t plan to re-sign with Atlanta this summer, the team would have to start considering a possible trade rather than lose him for nothing in 2013.”I don’t know what future lies ahead of me right now,” Smith said. “All I know is right now I’m an Atlanta Hawk. I’ve been here for eight years. It’s been eight good years. I’ll just have to wait to see what happens next year.”The 6-foot-9 Smith clearly took the loss of Horford upon his shoulders, establishing himself as a forceful presence in the post, which is where he’s most effective and keeps him from being tempted by an ill-timed jumper from the 18-to-20-foot range.Turns out, he doesn’t need his outside shot — an odd-looking, left-handed motion in which Smith cocks the ball behind his ear — that much when he’s doing most of his work in the lane.”It all started when Al went down,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, when you’ve got two guys on the blocks, you’re not able to get in a good rhythm. Josh has been able to catch a good rhythm in the post. He really came into his own this year.”Certainly, those who watch Smith on tape know how effective he can be.Woodson is most impressed by the way his former player carries himself on the court. With Horford out, Smith has stepped up to claim a costarring role with Johnson.”His leadership role has gone out the roof,” Woodson said. “He’s become the leader that everybody expected him to be.”Yep, J-Smoove has grown up.——© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.