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Pistons vs. Knicks: Josh Smith starting at SF, Gigi Datome out

Stan Van Gundy is starting Josh Smith to guard Carmelo Anthony and because the Pistons are thin on the perimeter.

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

As feared on Tuesday, Josh Smith will start on Wednesday night against the New York Knicks to guard Carmelo Anthony. But Van Gundy told media it's not just to guard Anthony; it's also because the Pistons are thin on the perimeter, as Gigi Datome will not play because of an injured hamstring. The latter point makes more sense considering Smith had pretty much zero success guarding Anthony last season.

Datome's status for the Knicks game is unfortunate, because Van Gundy had talked about getting Datome involved a little more. Take this from Keith Langlois' mailbag on Wednesday:

Stan Van Gundy mentioned him earlier this week, though, in discussing the slow start the Pistons had gotten off to from the 3-point line, saying Datome is in the mix and he thinks he'’s a good player.

Here's Stan Van Gundy talking about the starting lineup with the media before the game (video courtesy of Dave Pemberton):

For the Knicks, they'll still be without Jose Calderon (calf) and Andrea Bargnani (hamstring), and they will also be without J.R. Smith, who was suspended by the NBA for punching Glen Rice Jr. in the groin in Tuesday night's game.

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