Josh Smith says Detroit disaster not all his fault

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When you’re as bad as the Pistons are right now — they couldn’t even beat the Sixers — it’s not just one thing. Life is simply not lived in black and white like that, it’s shades of gray.

Josh Smith wants you to know the disaster that is the Pistons is not all his fault.

He spoke with the Detroit News about this season (hat tip to Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball):

“I am an easy target to be able to blame. I’m very outspoken,” Smith said. “I’m an emotional player. I can easily be a target night in and out…

“If you played the game, if you know X’s and O’s, it’s not all my fault,” Smith said. “I’m not gonna say I’m perfect, by far, but I’m not the guy you can point the finger at. I’m a firm believer in you point one finger at one person, point three back at yourself.”

Josh Smith has been Josh Smith this season. On the 46 percent of his total shot attempts he takes inside eight feet he is shooting 55.7 percent. On the 54 percent outside that window he is shooting 29,9 percent, including 25.6 percent from three. However, because Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe have equally bad shooting from the outside, all three of them are trying to occupy the same space inside. When that happens Smith, in the small forward role, steps out on the perimeter. He has had to do that more and more this season as the Pistons continue to play the big three lineup in spite of the evidence of how poorly it works.

And that’s not even getting into Brandon Jennings. Or the defense.

But pointing the finger of blame at Smith is like blaming a cheetah for eating a gazelle — it’s what he does.

That said, the Pistons need him to get back to being more of a jack of all trades, a guy who can defend inside and out, who can run the court, a guy that is a matchup nightmare.

Detroit’s big mistake was putting the roster together this way. Yes, we’re looking at you Joe Dumars, this roster is why you may well be unemployed as of this summer. We all had spacing question the second the Smith signing was announced, although nobody thought their issues would be this severe. Josh Smith is part of that but he’s right, he’s not all of it.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”