Following a rough outing in his return to Atlanta, Josh Smith can now turn his focus toward helping the Detroit Pistons rebound from their slow start.
The former Hawk will try to bounce back at home Friday night when the Pistons attempt to salvage a win in the finale of this home-and-home set with Atlanta.
Smith, who signed with Detroit in July after nine seasons with the Hawks, matched his second-lowest point total of the season with 11 on 5-of-15 shooting in Wednesday's 93-85 loss in his first game back.
The veteran forward received a mixed response in pregame introductions but only applause following a 'Thanks Josh Smith' message on the video board during the first timeout.
'I'm glad I got this one under my belt,' said Smith, an Atlanta native. 'Now we can move on and just focus on playing basketball.'
Smith should feel confident about finding his rhythm back at The Palace of Auburn Hills, where he's averaging 18.8 points - well above his 13.7 average on the road.
While they've dropped six of eight following a 2-1 start, the Pistons (4-7) seek their fourth win in six home games. They've won 32 of 40 home meetings with the Hawks (7-5), including playoff series in 1997 and 1999.
Atlanta's Paul Millsap, signed in the offseason to replace Smith, had 19 points to steal the spotlight in Smith's return. While with Utah, Millsap averaged 20.5 points on 58.8 percent shooting and 10.0 rebounds in his last four trips to Detroit.
'I'm not Josh Smith,' said Millsap, who appeared to be fine after missing one game because of right elbow tendinitis. 'It didn't faze me at all. It wasn't about me. It's not about me.'
Jeff Teague looks to continue his breakout season after finishing with 18 points and seven assists against the Pistons. The point guard is averaging team and career highs of 18.4 points and 8.7 assists through 12 games.
Teague had 20 points and 12 assists, while Al Horford had 23 points and matched a career high with 22 rebounds in a 114-103 victory in the most recent meeting in Detroit on Feb. 25, 2013. Smith chipped in with 23 points, seven boards and four assists for the Hawks.
Horford hopes to get back on track after averaging 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds over his last three games heading into this matchup, while Kyle Korver has made a 3-pointer in 85 consecutive games to come within four of matching the NBA record set by Dana Barros (1994-96).
The Hawks have tightened up defensively, limiting opponents to 95.0 points per game during this 5-2 stretch after giving up 105.4 over their first five contests. They held the Pistons to 40.2 percent shooting - including 6 of 22 from 3-point range - in Wednesday's win.
Greg Monroe finished with a season-low seven points on 3-of-8 shooting with four rebounds for Detroit, but he's averaged 17.8 points and 12.4 rebounds during five straight double-doubles at home.
Brandon Jennings has scored 19.5 per game and made 15 of 32 from beyond the arc in his last six versus Atlanta dating back to his time with Milwaukee. Rodney Stuckey has been hot off the bench, averaging 17.8 points over his last four overall.
The Pistons have dropped 14 of 19 overall against the Hawks.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved