Eastern Notes: Smith Jr., Hill, Hornets, Heat

Hoops Rumors

Pistons guard Dennis Smith Jr. has looked reborn during his time with the team so far, proving to be reasonably effective in his first nine games, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.

Smith, who was traded to Detroit from New York earlier this month, has averaged 7.9 points and 3.2 assists in 18.6 minutes per contest since the move. The two teams are set to meet on Sunday night from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

“Truth be told, you never want to get too comfortable because you end up being complacent,” Smith said. “But you can definitely tell when the feel for the game starts to comes back, especially from the situation I was coming from. I can feel my feel coming back for me.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference today:

  • Hawks forward Solomon Hill said the Heat never made an offer to retain him in free agency, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Hill, who wound up signing a one-year deal with Atlanta, has averaged 4.5 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 18.9 MPG in 33 games this season.
  • The Hornets are set to be without several players for their game against the Kings on Sunday night, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. Gordon Hayward (right hand contusion) and Cody Zeller (left hip contusion) have both been downgraded to doubtful. Their absences would leave the club with just nine available players for the contest due to various injuries, Bonnell notes.
  • One of the Heat‘s top “bubble lineups” is finally back in place, Barry Jackson writes for The Miami Herald. The team has won five straight contests and is working to bounce back from a COVID- and injury-riddled start to the season, playing the 14-19 Hawks on Sunday night.

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