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JR Smith crosses up Tristian Thompson and Anthony Bennett, throws down dunk (Video)

JR-Smith-windmill-dunkYou see what happens when New York Knicks swingman JR Smith actually feels like playing? Smith put on a show in his team’s 117-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night. The first of his highlight-reel plays came in the first quarter, when he blew past Cavs rookie Anthony Bennett and threw down a nasty windmill dunk. Kyrie Irving was the victim at the back end of the play.

While the dunk was impressive, you could argue that Smith’s best play of the night came in the third quarter when he embarrassed Tristian Thompson with a step-back crossover. Smith literally made Thompson tweak his ankle and fall to the floor.

Since Smith was inexplicably benched for a game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 14, he has averaged 16.4 points per game and is shooting 44% from 3-point range. He may sound like an idiot when he admits that defense isn’t exactly his expertise, but I think it’s safe to say JR’s play has improved overall.

Videos via Pro Basketball Talk

JR Smith admits defense is not his area of expertise

JR Smith KnicksJR Smith, whether he meant to or not, summed up his game in one succinct quote that might be our favorite quote of the year.

The New York Knicks held a long practice and film session on Thursday, the day after they fell to the 76ers for their fifth-straight loss. Smith was asked about Mike Woodson’s defensive schemes, and he refused to blame the team’s struggles on the coaches. Instead, he blamed the players. But the money shot came when Smith was asked about his views on Woodson’s defensive system.

“That’s really not my area of expertise,” Smith said, via the New York Post. “I’m more of a scoring-type player. I’ll leave that to those guys. Whatever they want to do, it’s OK with me. Just let me know.”

Game, set, match, Smith.

As you could imagine, the internet went wild with that quote, all because it’s so well known that Smith is just a scorer and not a defender. He’s also not much of a passer, too, while we’re at it.

So what are Smith’s areas of expertise? Our friend Tommy Beer took his best stab at it:

Yep, I’d say that’s right on the money.

JR Smith reportedly benched for having words with Mike Woodson before OT of Suns game

JR SmithThe ongoing rift between JR Smith and New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has remained somewhat of a mystery, but Woodson’s motives for benching Smith are starting to become more clear. On Tuesday night, Smith was benched for the second time in four games. Woodson offered no explanation for the decision.

Why did Smith play two games in between benchings? Frank Isola of the NY Daily News reports that Smith was benched against the Charlotte Bobcats after having words with Woodson the previous night.

J.R. Smith’s benching in Charlotte Tuesday night may have been a direct result of Smith sitting most of the overtime in Monday’s win over Phoenix.

According to a source, Smith was vocal with coach Mike Woodson about not starting the extra session against Phoenix after missing what would have been a game-winning shot at the end of regulation.

That would make sense. Some have speculated that Smith’s childish habit of untying opponents’ shoelaces during free throw attempts had resulted in disciplinary action, but in reality it seems like Woodson has simply had enough of his antics. The two also reportedly had a heated exchange last month.

Smith signed a three-year, $18 million deal this past offseason. With recent rumors surfacing that indicate the Knicks are looking to trade him, it appears highly unlikely that Smith will remain in New York for the length of that contract. He’s an important part of the Knicks’ offense when cooperative, but he’ll need to change his attitude for that to matter.

JR Smith benched again and Mike Woodson won’t say why

JR Smith KnicksFor the second time in the last four games, New York Knicks swingman JR Smith was inexplicably benched on Tuesday night. Smith did not log a single minute in a loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, just as he did not make an appearance in a win over the Miami Heat last Thursday. If you’re looking for an explanation, Mike Woodson is not going to provide it.

Woodson had little to say about Smith on Tuesday. Before Monday’s game (a game in which Smith played 25 minutes), Woodson said Smith needed to start being “more of a pro.”

“J.R. and I spoke,” he said. “The bottom line is he’s got to be more of a pro and do the right things and just concentrate on playing basketball.”

What could have possibly happened between Monday and Tuesday? Smith claims he has no idea.

“I haven’t the slightest clue,” he said, per The Record’s Steve Popper. “I worry about getting better. If I don’t play here, I’ll got to the weight room, go back to the court, get my shots up, do whatever it takes for me to get better.”

Some have speculated that Smith’s benching stems from his childish habit of untying opponents’ shoelaces during free throw attempts. The 28-year-old, who said he “stopped being surprised after the Miami game,” would not rule that out.

“I don’t even know,” Smith said. “It could. It could not. For that to be the trigger point for all of this to happen is ridiculous.”

In all likelihood, the shoelace antics simply added to Woodson’s frustration. After all, Smith was suspended the first five games of the season for a violation of the league’s drug policy and fined $25K for sending a hostile tweet to Brandon Jennings. He also admitted he took an idiotic shot in a loss to the Houston Rockets earlier this month.

“If I’m not helping the team, there’s no point in me being here,” Smith said Tuesday.

The strange thing is that Smith was benched, then appeared in two games, then was benched again on Tuesday night. I suppose the Knicks could be trying to use him sparingly to audition him for a trade, but even that would be a weird thing to do. At this point, you would think the Knicks would unload Smith ASAP. They have just started winning games. Drama will drag them down.

JR Smith once ordered $3,000 of food from room service just to see them bring it

JR SmithJ.R. Smith is already a clown and jacka–, but you already knew that. Most of the great anecdotes from the NBA over the past few seasons have involved him. But if you still weren’t convinced about what a bad seed Smith is, this story might take the cake — literally and figuratively.

Adrian Wojnarowski rips Smith to shreds in a column published early Friday. He describes Smith as a player who cons media members and teams by saying the right things but doing the opposite. He also characterizes Smith as “a soft, spoiled suburban jump-shooter,” even though Smith portrays himself as an inner-city gangster type. Then Woj truly delves into the inconsiderate nature of Smith.

According to Woj, Smith consistently displayed disrespectful behavior while with Zhejiang of the Chinese Basketball League during the lockout in 2011, which is nothing new based on what we’ve heard. Smith is said to have made unreasonable demands about what kind of car he needed to drive him around and missed practices to go shopping. But this story about one thing he allegedly did is the absolute worst:

Perhaps his greatest excess of idiocy had been a weekend of running a room service bill into the proximity of $3,000, a source with direct knowledge told Yahoo Sports. He kept ordering food, stacking piles of trays upon trays – “just to see if they would keep bringing it to the room,” the source said.

Now that is the worst. At least when Allen Iverson was leaving behind his clothing on road trips, it was on his dime. That’s a pretty darn disrespectful act from Smith — loading up on a bill just because it’s not being paid by you. These kinds of jerks don’t last in pro sports as long as they think they will. Smith probably won’t make it in the NBA beyond 30.

Knicks looking into trading JR Smith

JR Smith KnicksJ.R. Smith has been a distraction for most of the season, and the New York Knicks are finally looking into trading him.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Knicks “have begun to explore the potential trade market” for Smith because they have become frustrated with his behavior.

Smith was fined $50,000 on Wednesday for trying to untie the shoelaces of his opponents in the last two games (videos here and here). He was suspended the first five games of the season for a violation of the league’s drug policy. He also was fined $25,000 for sending a hostile tweet to Brandon Jennings.

The Knicks signed JR to a three-year, $18 million contract over the offseason. The deal supposedly included a stipulation that the team would keep JR’s brother, Chris, on the roster, which is why JR was so pissed when Chris was cut. JR then had an operation on his knee after receiving the contract, and he has gone on to have a bad season. He reportedly is having knee issues again.

Smith has always been a questionable character who makes boneheaded moves on and off the court, so none of this should come as a surprise to the Knicks. Mike Woodson said in November that someday no team will want to deal with Smith’s antics. I’m surprised the Knicks have allowed it for this long.

JR Smith untied Shawn Marion’s shoes in the free throw line (Video)

JR Smith Shawn MarionJR Smith apparently has a humorous habit of untying an opponent’s shoes in the free throw line, and Shawn Marion was his victim on Sunday.

Smith pulled off the trick upon entering the game late in the second quarter during the Knicks’ 92-80 win over the Mavs. When a fan on Twitter told Smith he saw the Knicks guard pull off the move against Dwight Howard, Smith added that this is something he does every game:

That’s easily the best defensive move Smith has shown all season.