Dec 4, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Greg Smith (4) attempts to score a basket during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets rallied back from a 13 point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers last night. James Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons struggled to find their rhythm offensively and only calculated for 32 of Houston’s 107 points.
Last night’s win goes to the Rockets’ bench. When Houston made its stunning comeback, Harden and Pattrick Patterson were the only starters on the floor leaving Carlos Delfino, Toney Douglas, and Greg Smith filling out the other three positions. The three players accumulated for 58 points which included a career night for Smith. He had his career high in points with 22 points, pulled down 9 rebounds, and managed to “J.J. Swatt” a couple shots (get use to that terminology in Houston).
So who is Greg Smith? Who is this guy wearing Luis Scola’s number?
Smith is in his second year out of Fresno State. He stands at 6’10’’ and carries 250 pounds of what scientists believe to be pure muscle. Undrafted in the 2011 Draft, Smith caught the eye of Kevin McHale and the staff and invited him to training camp. He spent most of his rookie season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Sending players to the D-League is not a rare act by Houston. Players like Patterson and Marcus Morris have also spent some time down in the valley. Both players have come back and have played well for the team recently. Smith came to training camp ready to make his mark and so far, so good.
Smith is shooting 63 percent for the season and showed last night that he can fill up the score card. Against the Lakers he hit 7 of his 8 shot attempts and mirrored that fraction from the charity stripe also. What made this so impressive was that he managed to do this while facing up against 3-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. His offensive performance last night speaks evident as to how much hard work he put in during the offseason.
Smith is no slouch in terms of physicality. Coaches praise him for his strong physical presence on both ends of the floor. When asked about the play of Smith after Houston’s win against LA, Kelvin Sampson said with a straight face that “he’s more physical than ‘O’,” referring to Omer Asik.
With less than a month away from turning 22, Greg Smith is currently 19th in the league in field-goal percentage and could turn out to be the answer for Houston at the back-up center position.
A game like the one he had against the Lakers is huge for a young player. He will have to build on this performance and must continue to work hard in order to prove to his coaches that he is more than capable of playing a major role on this team.