Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith can be one of the most frustrating players in the NBA, but that comment is something of a compliment. While Smith often takes questionable three-pointers or has a mental lapse, he's also one of the few players in the league liable to contribute in every statistical category in any one game. He's sometimes difficult to watch because we know he's capable of so much.
On Saturday night, we got to see the good and bad of Smith in the final possessions of the Pistons' 110-108 win over the Phoenix Suns. With the score tied 105-105 and the shot clock winding down, Smith — a 24.8 percent three-point shooter who many observers think should take the play out of his repertoire entirely — ended up with the ball and nailed a long-range shot to give the Pistons the three-point lead with 26 seconds on the clock.
Yet Smith's heroic moment proved to be short-lived. After two offensive rebounds on the subsequent possession, the Suns got the ball to Gerald Green for a hopeful game-tying three with just four seconds on the clock. However, Smith fouled Green while closing out for the shot, giving the Suns new life. Green hit all three freebies, tying the game at 108-108 and sending the game on a course with overtime.
So Josh Smith did something really good:
That's a driving lay-up, on good defense from the 6-11 Channing Frye, for a second potential game-winner and as a make-up for a mistake on the previous play. Green's last-ditch off-balance three-point attempt hit the side of the rim, and Smith ended up as the hero.
Although Smith's final possessions were up-and-down(-and-up), his night was almost completely positive. In 38 minutes, he scored a game-high 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting (with only the one three-point attempt), 11 rebounds, and five assists. This was the good Josh Smith — the bad, while nearly very problematic for the Pistons, didn't last long.
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