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Pistons vs. Rockets preview: Expect the 'full-fledged Josh Smith experience'

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Josh Smith returns to The Palace.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Josh Smith back to The Palace. He will be motivated to chuck and representing the opposing team, so it should be a joyous occasion. Smith's return to Detroit will be his first since being waived Dec. 22 after a year plus of too many long twos, threes, defensive miscues and losses. Saturday night at The Palace should be a celebration. Welcome back, Josh Smith! Take all the shots you want.

Game Vitals

Where: Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI

When: 7:30PM EST, Sat., Jan. 31, 2015

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Josh Smithalysis and some

The Rockets will be without Dwight Howard, so expect a heavy dose of James Harden and... Josh Smith. You should've expected that anyway. The Pistons do (via Freep):

"There's always a little bit (of motivation), especially when you get cut - that's extra," Anthony Tolliver said. "Getting traded is one thing, but getting cut is another. So we expect to get the full-fledged Josh Smith experience.

"He's going to come in here, I'm sure he's going to want to have a really good game and obviously he's going to want to win. But he's going to want to be a big part of that win."

A 'full-fledged Josh Smith experience' would be great. More shots than points. Under 30 percent on three-pointers. Missed defensive assignments. Awesome.

Since waiving Smith in December, the Pistons are 12-7, seven more wins than they had this season with Smith in nine fewer games. Coincidentally, 12-7 is also the Rockets' record since picking up Smith after he cleared waivers. They were 20-7 before they acquired him.

Smith's shooting has improved with the Rockets, up five percentage points both overall and from behind the three-point line, and he's been playing well as of late, but he's still an overall net negative on offense and not worthy of extended minutes because of his not-elite defense. He's actually the 12th most productive player on the Rockets and yet he will probably play over 30 minutes against the Pistons. If that's the case, we thank you Houston.

The biggest difference between Josh Smith on the Pistons and Josh Smith on the Rockets is that he has much better talent around him in Houston. They make up for Smith's shortcomings and, yes, they can make Smith look better at times. For instance, James Harden is a legitimate star, one of the best in the NBA, and he has the ability to take over games that Smith might otherwise be ruining.

The worst case scenario for the Pistons is that Smith has one of his super rare efficient games, Harden gets his and Trevor Ariza continues to kill it against the Pistons. But if a 'full-fledged Josh Smith experience' is what we should expect, then a favorable game for the Pistons is also what we should expect.

Connections

-- JOSH SMITH

Community Question

Are you excite? (sic)

For the opponent's perspective, please visit The Dream Shake