It was an interesting night on Saturday when the Detroit Pistons got shelled by the Washington Wizards 106-82. I watched some of the game and the Pistons looked flat and not ready to play at all. They got blown out by a team that should not have won by that much. In addition, to getting beat, there was some stuff going on between Josh Smith and head coach Maurice Cheeks. Here is a section from the AP story.
“Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks kept starting forward Josh Smith, who had five points in Friday’s loss at Orlando and shot 2 of 7 in the first half against the Wizards, on the bench for the second half.
“I just felt like I wanted to make a change and stay with the guys I went with,” Cheeks said. “It wasn’t just him. (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) didn’t start either.”
Caldwell-Pope eventually played nearly 10 minutes of the second half.
“I mean it’s unfair because like I told you before, I play the game hard each and every day,” Smith said when asked if he was being singled out. “When I was younger I played this game free year around. So why wouldn’t I want to come out here and put my best foot forward every time I step out?””
However, according to Vincent Goodwill, there is no problems between Cheeks and Smith.
“Any conversation I had, I had in a group setting,” he said. “The team knows what’s going on … There’s no hidden agendas, if I need to talk to someone individually I will.
“We came to our agreement. Y’all (the media) are the ones with the problem with it. Me and Josh are fine. Whatever we did in that locker room stays in that locker room.”
The issue between Cheeks and Smith comes in the context of the Pistons’ history of disputes between players and coaches dating even to their days as a winning team, and Cheeks might feel self-conscious about giving the appearance this is more of the same.
“This is our team. It’s not my team, it’s our team,” said Cheeks, whose reputation as a “players’ coach” might be seen as a liability from time to time. “So all I try to do is work with players and players work with me. I don’t know that (players’ coach) label, but this is a work setting. I try and work, they try and work and sometimes you have to have.”
As for the Detroit Red Wings, they had a crazy game down in Florida, in which they won 4-3. Henrik Zetterberg was in the lineup for the first time in a few weeks and was happy about the win.
“It was nice after a little break here to come back and get a good start. We got two points and we won,” Zetterberg said.
It will be fun to watch them play in the Winter Classic on Wednesday.