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Mike Woodson says J.R. Smith could spend time on bench if he stays cold

May 9, 2013, 11:18 AM EDT

J.R. Smith AP

The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year could be seeing more time on the bench, starting this Saturday in Indiana.

In the two games against Indiana, J.R. Smith is 7-for-30 shooting, 3-of-13 from three and has six turnovers to one assist. Even in the second half of Game 2 against the Pacers, when everything the Knicks did seemed to work, Smith was 0-of-5. He has shot just 26 percent since his return from a one game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry in the head. The man is slumping. At a bad time.

The Knicks are in a tough second round series with the Pacers and Knicks coach Mike Woodson needs production off his bench. He told ESPN Radio — as transcribed by Newsday — that he is not going stick with the cold hand forever.

“I’ll gauge J.R. as we go along and if I feel he’s not giving me anything, I could always turn to other guys on that bench,” he said. “I feel good about the guys who come in off the bench, just like I feel good about J.R. But if he’s struggling and I feel the need that I got to pull him, I will do that as the head coach.”

The Knicks need to earn a split in Indiana and a hot J.R. Smith certainly would help with that. But they showed in Game 2 they can have a run without him — in Indiana the Pacers are not going to go as cold, not be as lifeless as they were for that second half. But the Knicks can still get the win with the defensive pressure they showed that half.

It’s just something to watch, if Smith is cold Woodson doesn’t have time to wait for him to warm up.

  1. lakerluver - May 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Well, if he rides the pine he’ll have more energy for clubbing after the game.

  2. eboneseagles - May 9, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Should be fine, Shumperts been playing great and Copeland (and now maybe Amare) can always score some off the bench. JR having a great game would be surprising at this point, may not be completely necessary now but at some point it will hurt.

    • fanofevilempire - May 9, 2013 at 1:32 PM

      I don’t think that JR has forgotten how to put the ball in the hole, look at the shots he has taken they are not circus shots many have gone in and rimmed out.
      I have faith in Woody and he has faith in JR.
      I do hope those shots would start falling, also remember this is the playoffs and guys don’t give
      you a lot of room to operate and they actually do play defense.

  3. eventhorizon04 - May 9, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Woodson has a tough choice to make. On the one hand, J.R. Smith won 6th man of the year for a reason. In the second half of the regular season, he put up near All-Star numbers coming off the bench.

    On the other hand, Smith has been in a massive shooting slump since his suspension during the Celtics’ series. Also, the Knicks look like they play better when Pablo Prigioni is in the game, despite the lack of any impressive box-score numbers, and the advanced stats bear that out. The Knicks’ offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency both improve when Prigioni is on the court. There’s better ball movement on offense, which leads to better shots, and that movement on offense seems to inspire the Knicks to play with more energy on defense.

    So if Smith does spend more time in the bench, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s motivated in part to give Prigioni more playing time in general and more time with the ball in his hands in particular.

  4. jbeagles23 - May 9, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Sumpert Copland and amare? Ad as a knick fan your comfortable with that? Mediocre city. Mediocre team

    • majorhavoc83 - May 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Iman seems to be nearly back to his old form since his ACL surgery last year. Copeland has a ton of potential, but he needs to get more consistent. Amar’e is a seasoned vet, but it’ll definitely take time to work back into the rotation, coming off the injury and surgery; I don’t expect Amar’e to be a major factor anytime soon. I think if you look at any individual Knick player (Carmelo notwithstanding), you might feel that the players are mediocre, but I think as a team they’re pretty strong…certainly much stronger than you think. Woodson has done an amazing job with this team.

      • fanofevilempire - May 9, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        I thought Woody did a great job, I will not mentioned he was robbed in
        coach of the year, but hey how can you not vote George- who always
        gets knocked out in the first round-Karl

    • eboneseagles - May 9, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Yes I am, Shumpert is an elite defender and shot 41% from 3 this year as did Copeland who is an efficient shooter and can drive and create a mismatch at the 4. Amare is coming off injury but could give us a lil something possibly

    • fanofevilempire - May 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      who is your team, Sacramento?

  5. majorhavoc83 - May 9, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Players go through hot and cold spells; sometimes a player loses a little confidence and forces some shots, too. I’d hope that JR would go after some “easier” shots (e.g., layups, short range shots, etc). Then after getting a few of those, go for some of his mid-range shots and so on. He just needs to get his rhythm back. As Woodson has said in the past of JR…shooters got to shoot.

    Hopefully, JR will snap out of his funk this weekend.

    • kavika6 - May 11, 2013 at 4:50 AM

      Smith lose confidence? I don’t think you have to worry about that.

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - May 9, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    We aren’t settling for a split.

    But JR is due to get back on an upswing. Four straight bad games, doubtful that continues, when he’s even blowing bunnies. Just keep at it and stop settling for deep jumpers half the game.

  7. kb2408 - May 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    At least if J.R. doesn’t play much he can conserve his energy for clubbing.

  8. johnmiked - May 9, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Yeah I guess the team is so average with there winning records this year San Antonio, Miami GS and the #2 seed. And by the way did it with one real All Star in Melo. Yeah your right real mediocre team. What a fool you are

  9. jbeagles23 - May 9, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Second place in the east isn’t something to take pride in. They have a chance at beating Indiana but their season ends there . Being an eagles fan I can tell you now that you take no pride in not winning he whole thing

  10. dysraw1 - May 10, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    J.R come back we need you

  11. nawlinsmitty - May 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    fanofevilempire……..Mark Jackson did a much better job than Woody.

  12. kavika6 - May 11, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    Smith is so over-rated.

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