Pistons coach benches Josh Smith for entire 2nd half

Pistons coach benches Josh Smith for entire 2nd half
December 28, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Pistons no match for Beal, Wizards

As the Detroit Pistons took a beating at Verizon Center, coach Maurice Cheeks made a curious decision to start the second half down 62-41. He didn't just refuse to start Josh Smith, he didn't play him again. 

Smith registered just 18 minutes in the 106-82 loss to the Wizards, who handed the Pistons (14-18) their fourth loss in five games. Smith shot 2-for-7, missing both of his three-point attempts. 

"I felt like I wanted to make a change and stay with the guys I went with," said Cheeks, who tried to downplay the decision. "It wasn't just him, KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) didn't start either. It was just the way I felt. I felt like staying with the guys I had out on the floor."

Smith's response suggested otherwise: "I'm an aggressive person. I'm not passive. So maybe a passive person that takes life that way won't understand an aggressive person. I really can't worry about what people perceive of me because they don't know me on a day-to-day basis so I'm really not concerned about what people perceive about me at all."

RELATED: [Instant analysis: Wizards 106, Pistons 82]

Remember last month, after the Pistons lost on the road in Atlanta, Smith's hometown, that Cheeks called a last-minute practice after back-to-back games which is uncommon in the NBA. Smith wasn't on the plane because he was visiting family, didn't hear about the change and missed it. Smith was benched two days later for the next game, in Detroit, also vs. Atlanta.

When asked if he needed to have a sitdown with Cheeks, Smith said this: "To me it is over with. But you know some people hold grudges longer than others. I don't know. I'm not saying he does. I'm not the type of person that really likes to go all the time in coach's office and have a one-on-one sitdown. I'm more of a team morale guy."

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