Dwayne Casey isn̵
Detroit Free Press
Dennis Smith Jr. got his first moment as a Detroit Piston on Friday.
Shortly before halftime, he rushed into the lane and completed an explosive immersion in traffic. It feels inaccurate to call him Smith’s “harvest” – he is only 23 years old and is in his fourth season in the NBA. But after winning first team honors in 2018 and competing in the 2018 and 2019 Slam Dunk competitions, Smith was absent from the spotlight for nearly a year.
The dive was his first in exactly a year, his last coming with the New York Knicks against the Charlotte Hornets on February 26, 2020.
He fell out of favor with the Knicks before arriving in Detroit in early February. Friday showed that his best days in the league can still be ahead of him. The dive was his first two points in what ultimately was his best performance of the season, as Smith finished with 17 points and six assists, both the highest of the season, and made seven of his 13 shots. during Detroit’s 110-107 loss to the Sacramento Kings at Little Caesars Arena.
This week, he was the starting starter at the security point with Delon Wright, who was breastfeeding a groin injury and starting to thrive.
“He had a good game,” said Pistons coach Dwayne Casey. “The other night was Saben (Lee) and tonight was Dennis Smith. I thought he had a good game of insult. In defense, I don’t think we did well with De’Aaron Fox. As an insult, I thought that Dennis did a great job of running the show, dealing with lifting, putting in paint and creating problems. Between these two we had a good game between the two young defenders. ”
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In his last three games, Smith averaged 14 points, 4.7 assists, 1.3 steals and a block in 23.7 minutes per game, shooting a total of 52.9% and 45.5% of 3.
Smith scored 11 of his 17 points in the third quarter on Friday. He scored seven straight to give the Pistons (9-24) the first lead of the night with a long 2-point and 3rd for a 73-71 finish at the end of the quarter, followed by an upgrade.
He checked again in the middle of the fourth and hit his second 3-point over Fox’s outstretched hand to break the 91-point tie.
It’s been a good week for the Pistons. Saben Lee, with a two-way contract, has scored 46 points in a 17-on-26 shooting in his previous three games and amassed five points and four assists on Friday.
READ: Saben Lee Revelation, Dennis Smith Jr. Improves While Pistons Young PG Duo Excites
Lee and Smith held back the fortress for the pistons awaiting Wright’s return from a right-hand strain of the Grade 2. groin. February 19.
This could be an interesting rotation decision for Casey, who will also soon have to explain Killian Hayes’ return. Hayes will be re-examined in late March after suffering a torn hip labra in January.
“I’m worried about tomorrow, I’ll worry about it when it comes,” Casey said.
“We will see what happens and we will make some decisions as far as the lineup is concerned. One night it was Saben, the other night it was Dennis. It depends on which night, who goes what. We’ll see how it goes on the section. We will be happy when we return all healthy. “
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