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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Smith embracing ‘new beginning’ in Houston

Both the Rockets and Pistons have prospered since Josh Smith, left, changed teams. (Associated Press)
Both the Rockets and Pistons have prospered since Josh Smith, left, changed teams. (Associated Press)
By Kristie Rieken Associated Press

HOUSTON – Josh Smith has been a nice addition to the contending Houston Rockets and simply ignores those who credit Detroit’s recent success to his release.

After all, the Rockets have been doing just fine lately, too.

The Pistons have gone 11-2 since he was let go in the second season of a four-year, $54 million contract, causing some to throw around the phrase “addition by subtraction” when discussing Detroit’s recent turnaround.

“It didn’t upset me,” Smith said. “People have opinions and talk about things in the media that they don’t necessarily personally know anything about. So you really can’t let that affect what’s going on.”

The 29-year-old forward still communicates with a number of the Pistons and is pleased to see them doing well after their early-season struggles.

He added that many of his detractors don’t know the “true story” of what happened in Detroit.

“They made decisions that they thought was beneficial to their team,” he said. “I wish them nothing but success, but I’m just focusing on what I can do to help this team win games.”

The negativity certainly hasn’t slowed him down with Houston, where he’s averaged 10.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 14 games.

He started four games early, but acknowledged that he needed more time to adjust to his new team and has thrived since moving into a reserve role, averaging almost 12 points in those games.

At this point, he isn’t worried about returning to the starting lineup.

“For right now, this is what’s having the team so successful,” he said. “I’m all (for) doing what it takes for us to win. I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”

He called his opportunity in Houston a “new beginning,” and is feeling much more confident on the court now that he’s had some time to adjust.

“It was very, very crazy,” he said of his first few days with the Rockets. “It was the first time in my career it happened and having to move everything and get myself acclimated to the team was an adventure, but it was also kind of nerve-wracking. But everything is starting to smooth itself out.”

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