Joe Smith averaged a point per minute in his debut with Detroit.
Not bad for a player who hadn't played in a month.
"I think you have to be impressed with what kind of shape he was in," Pistons head coach George Irvine said after Smith helped lead the Pistons to a 118-96 victory over Vancouver on Friday night. "The fact that he has not played in a month and has only benefited from a couple days of my coaching, he was pretty remarkable."
It was a big relief for Smith to finally take to the floor. NBA commissioner David Stern nullified Smith's contract with the Timberwolves after Minnesota was caught signing a series of secret contracts with Smith.
Smith chose Detroit after a short free-agency period that saw him courted heavily by the Pistons and Dallas Mavericks.
"It's amazing what having a guy like that does to the other guys," said Jerry Stackhouse, who had 31 for Detroit. "They see him out there and they feel like they have to pick it up."
In other games, it was Boston 103, Orlando 98 in overtime; Cleveland 85, Miami 80; Philadelphia 76, Atlanta 67; Indiana 99, Washington 87; Charlotte 106, Milwaukee 90; Denver 102, San Antonio 92; Phoenix 80, Golden State 74; Utah 97, New Jersey 85; Seattle 98, L.A. Clippers 81; and L.A. Lakers 115, Minnesota 108.
Smith's highlight came in the third quarter when he caught a miss by Chucky Atkins in mid-air. He slammed the ball through, energizing the crowd and his teammates. Smith came down with fists swinging, drawing a technical foul for hanging on the rim too long. But, at that point, it didn't matter as the game was too far out of reach for the Grizzlies.
"That (dunk) was a lot of emotion and a lot of frustration," Smith said. "It was everything just coming out. It's just a big relief to get back out onto the floor.
"I was very nervous. I had just one day of practice. I really haven't had much time to blend with this team."
Smith provided Detroit with the emotional and physical presence it had been lacking inside -- the one it was seeking when signing Smith to a one-year $2.25 million deal last week.
Celtics 103, Magic 98, OT
At Boston, Paul Pierce scored a career-high 41 points and Antoine Walker added 24 as the Celtics sent the Orlando Magic to their fifth straight loss.
Cavaliers 85, Heat 80
At Cleveland, Clarence Weatherspoon had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Gatling added 15 points and three hustle plays in the final minutes as Cleveland beat Miami for the second time in three days and improved to 6-0 at home.
76ers 76, Hawks 67
At Atlanta, Allen Iverson bounced back from a miserable first half, scoring 15 of his 21 points in the third quarter.
The 76ers (11-1) were coming off their first loss of the season Wednesday at Charlotte.
Pacers 99, Wizards 87
At Indianapolis, Jalen Rose scored 23 points and the Indiana Pacers made two changes to their starting lineup to end a four-game losing streak -- their longest in almost seven years.
Hornets 106, Bucks 90
At Milwaukee, David Wesley scored 24 points and the Hornets used a 28-2 first-half run to win their fourth straight.
Nuggets 102, Spurs 92
At Denver, Nick Van Exel had 27 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds and Antonio McDyess added 20 points to lead the Nuggets to their fifth straight home win.
Suns 80, Warriors 74
At Phoenix, Jason Kidd got the last six of his 18 points on free throws in the final 27.8 seconds.
SuperSonics 98, Clippers 81
At Seattle, Gary Payton had 23 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
The Sonics pulled away early in the second half and coasted to the victory on a relatively calm night for the tumultuous team.
Jazz 97, Nets 85
At Salt Lake City, John Stockton tied John Havlicek's NBA record for most games played with one team, scoring 10 points with 12 assists in his 1,270th game for Utah.
Danny Manning scored 12 points off the bench, including six straight in the fourth quarter to help Utah extend its winning streak over the Nets to 11 games.
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