Greg Monroe is too classy to say it, so I’ll say it for him.
Prior to Josh Smith’s release, the Pistons were outscored by 31 points during his 57 minutes on the floor with the game within five points and five or fewer minutes remaining. He led the team with 26 shots in those situations, making just eight of them (31 percent) and none of his seven 3-point attempts.
It’s unfair to pin the Pistons’ turnaround on Smith no longer hijacking the crunch-time offense, though.
The difference is Smith no longer hijacks the offense during all portions of the game. The Pistons, freer to share the ball and not play in his shadow, are now capable of beating teams resoundingly and no longer needing their wins to come down to the final few minutes.
But when they do, Detroit’s Brandon Jennings-led offense clicks much better.