Friday night the Hawks will play the Detroit Pistons . It will be the second meeting in three nights for the NBA teams, but this one will be different. This time they will meet in Auburn Hills, Michigan and that will be just fine with Josh Smith. Wednesday night Smith returned to Atlanta with his new team for his much anticipated homecoming.
Being back in the building formerly known as “The Highlight Factory” seemed to impact Smith’s performance as J Smooth was anything but, going 5 for 15 from the field and finishing with just 11 points as the Hawks won 93-85. ” I’m glad to get this over with”, said Smith. ” Now we can get on with season and just playing basketball”.
Smith’s reception was a mixture of cheers and boos which was expected , even by Smith. The Atlanta native, who came to the Hawks as a prep phenom ,was know for bringing the hometown fans to their feet with his amazing slam dunks while at the same time causing them grief with his habit for ill timed jump shots.
There was one thing that was different for Josh last night, and all Hawks fans who have come to watch the team play during Smith’s tenure here. His father, Walter “Pete” Smith, a courtside fixture during his son’s days with the Hawks, was not in attendance. “He is home and feeling under the weather tonight”, said Smith. ” “It is the first time that I can remember me playing in this building and my father not being there”.
Before the game started Smith could be seen smiling with Hawks big man Al Horford, and sharing an embrace with Lou Williams when the game was done. When I asked him if he still followed his former team he said “yes”. “I have watched every game”, said Smith. They are still my brothers, and my friends except on nights we’re on the floor against them “.
Josh Smith might want to hang on to that thought. He and the Pistons will get another shot at the Hawks tomorrow night and after a rough homecoming Josh Smith can’t wait to try and smooth things out .