'He'll never expect *this.*' (Danny Bollinger/NBAE/Getty Images)
Here's Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith a week ago:
Here's Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith during the first quarter of his team's Sunday contest against the Dallas Mavericks:
It's like all of our youth basketball coaches always said: You've got to step into that (13-foot turnaround fadeaway) jumper (taken against double coverage with 12 seconds still remaining on the shot clock without even a cursory look at where you might be able to pass to one of your teammates) with confidence. Sharp team play, Mr. Smith. Keep up the strong midrange isolation work.
Smith scored 25 points on 24 shots to go with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals, making him one of three 20-point performers for head coach Maurice Cheeks (Greg Monroe had 20 with nine boards, Brandon Jennings had a team-high 26 with seven assists and six turnovers). It wasn't enough, though, as the Mavs mowed down the Motor City-jersey-clad Pistons, 116-106.
Dallas got big nights from Dirk Nowitzki (game-high 28 points on 16 shots, nine rebounds, four assists) and its bench (46 total points, led by 14 with seven assists from the recently returned Devin Harris). Rick Carlisle's crew sealed the victory with a fourth-quarter walloping that saw the Mavericks open the final frame with a 10-0 run to stem Detroit's third-quarter surge, answer a mid-fourth 9-0 Pistons spurt with eight unanswered of their own, and get a Dirk dagger 3-pointer with 54 seconds left to extend the lead to 14 points and put Detroit away.
Once again, a sluggish fourth quarter came back to bite the Pistons, who dropped their fourth straight game and their 11th in 14 outings since Christmas to fall to 17-27, one game behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the eighth seed in the East. Dallas, meanwhile, hung onto the No. 8 spot out West by improving to 26-20.
Hat-tip to Beyond the Buzzer.
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