Smith's first career start comes against Griffin
Greg Smith did not disappoint Saturday in his first career NBA start.
Before the game, Smith was given the start at power forward in place of Donatas Motiejunas. D-Mo's tendency for early foul trouble was cited by Kevin McHale before Saturday's game as a reason for the switch. It also helped that Smith had recent strong performances, including this past Wednesday's 18-point and 19-rebound effort against the Pacers.
Against the Clippers on Saturday, Smith had nine points and eight rebounds. He combined with Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons to form a starting frontline that combined for 29 rebounds. In fact, the very first bucket in this very first Greg Smith start went to the big man from Fresno.
"I was very surprised that the play was coming towards me," Smith said. "I thought we were going to run some pick and roll. First reaction (when the ball came to me) was, 'Ok, I've got to score.' So, once the play went, I got the ball, and I saw the opening, I said, 'Man, this is my bucket. I'm going to get it.'"
And that bucket helped him gain his bearings and gain some momentum.
"When it first started, you're going to be a little nervous," Smith said. "I was nervous for a bit, but as time went on, and the tip went off, it's just basketball. You know, go out there and play. I got my confidence up. I got my first bucket. (Jeremy) Lin and everybody talking to me saying, 'Keep doing what you're doing' and my confidence is up, so I'm going to play as hard as I can for you guys. I want to get this win."
As far as Smith's future role in the starting lineup, McHale said, "A lot of it depends on matchups, but Greg's been really good for us lately. He's been here longer. He's a grizzled veteran of five games last year. He's got more experience. I hate to say it, but he knows what we're doing. He's more comfortable. I look at him as a guy who's a veteran."
One start, one win. So far, so good for Greg Smith's NBA career as an NBA starter.