Hawks forward Smith walks on the court during their game against the Miami Heat in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Atlanta

Josh Smith is back in Atlanta, thinking over his future

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While the spotlight has firmly been on Dwight Howard and his meetings with teams, Josh Smith was in Los Angeles too, talking to teams pursuing him.

Smith, arguably the second best free agent still on the market this summer, spoke with Detroit, who was rumored to want to make a big offer to him. There were talks with Houston, which is contemplating pairing him with Howard if they land him. Boston has been mentioned, even though that doesn’t make a ton of sense for them. Atlanta is expected to make an offer to keep him. There were others.

While the spotlight followed Dwight Howard to the Rocky Mountains as he was thinking about his options, Smith planned to spend the Fourth of July and the weekend at home thinking about his next play.

Smith has said he wants a max contract but apparently so far that has not been forthcoming. He averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game plus is a good defensive forward. There’s a lot to like. The biggest drawback is he doesn’t play to his strengths — he’s a beast inside five feet but has a penchant for jump shots he does not make that often.

Smith’s best play may be to wait until Howard makes his move (that could be Friday) then see how the market shifts for him. If Howard chooses Houston that may become an option. Otherwise, teams that miss out on Howard might make a run. Bottom line is as teams become a little more desperate his options may increase.

But it still may not get him the max deal he wants. Teams are more cautious with the new CBA. But either way Smith is home thinking it over.

James Harden’s 12th triple-double helps Rockets end 2-game skid

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NEW YORK (AP) James Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Houston Rockets easily ended their first losing streak of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.

Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.

Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.

Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its season scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.

Joel Embiid helps bring hundreds of fans to D.C. with ‘Bus the Process’

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Joel Embiid has fans all around the NBA. Some even came out to see him during the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday despite the Cameroonian big man sitting out due to restrictions on playing in back-to-back games.

#BusTheProcess was the hashtag used to get 350 Sixers fans to the game in D.C. thanks to Embiid, coach Brett Brown, and the podcast The Rights to Ricky Sanchez.

Via Twitter and ESPN:

Fun stuff for some dedicated fans, even if they didn’t get to see Embiid play.

Unfortunately for the #BusTheProcess folks, the 76ers wound up losing to the Wizards, 109-93.

Ball ricochets off Robin Lopez’s face, Bulls score anyway (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31:  Robin Lopez #8 of the Chicago Bulls look on against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center on October 31, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Michael Carter-Williams is still shaking the dust off after being inserted into the starting lineup, I guess. At least, that’s about what you can say when you pass the ball off your starting center’s face.

But there’s good news! The Chicago Bulls scored on this play.

Let’s take a look at the whole thing, shall we?

I think the more important question is whether Carter-Williams received a secondary or primary assists on the NBA.com tracking site.

Kent Bazemore, Mike Dunleavy pick up offense as Hawks beat Bucks

Mike Dunleavy, Michael Beasley
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ATLANTA (AP) Kent Bazemore scored 24 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 on Sunday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and was a tough matchup in the paint for Milwaukee, which dropped 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Hawks in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta has won eight of nine. The Bucks have dropped three of five.

Dunleavy, in his second game since arriving in a trade last week with Cleveland, had his first 20-point performance since a first-round playoff game for Chicago on April 30, 2015.

Antetokounmpo has scored at least 30 points in eight games in a breakout season.