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J.R. Smith continues Knicks pattern of late-game mistakes with ill-advised three in loss to Rockets (VIDEO)

Jan 4, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

The Knicks had an opportunity to win their second straight game against a team that has performed much better than New York has to this point, but another bone-headed mistake in a season that’s been full of them derailed that chance.

Tied with the Rockets with under a minute remaining, New York inbounded the ball with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. After a miss from Beno Udrih, an offensive rebound from Tyson Chandler and a reset of the offense, Udrih got it back and kicked it to J.R. Smith at the top of the three-point arc with 21 seconds remaining.

As we all realized, both at the time and with the benefit of hindsight, Smith didn’t need to immediately launch the shot. But he did anyway, and once it rimmed out, Houston secured the rebound and won the game by virtue of two free throws from Aaron Brooks.

It wasn’t the smartest of plays, and Smith admitted as much afterward.

The slander is indeed well-deserved, but in Smith’s defense, his shot probably wasn’t as bad as the one Andrea Bargnani took a few weeks back.

It was far from a smart play by Smith, but at some point the overall focus of the team has to be called into question when multiple players aren’t aware of the time remaining and the game’s situation.

  1. bjornreyes - Jan 4, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    Answer: “Why the hell is he still in the NBA?!”

    Question: What was my reaction while watching the game?

  2. football58 - Jan 4, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Why do we care what your reaction was again?

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Jan 4, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      JR Smith pulled a Bargs! LMAO.

  3. jcrileyesq - Jan 4, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    not surprised by anything jr smith does since he plus for an “unloyal “team that cut his scrub brother with pay, but why did udrih foul brooks????

  4. dohoangquan35 - Jan 4, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    give this guy a minimum deal and things will be fixed

  5. 950003cups - Jan 4, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    This team needs to be rid of all it’s big names and play as young underdogs from now on. Just like when they lost Melo and Stat when LinSanity was unfolding.

    MELO and JR are selfish big ego types that would ruin any team that gave them the chance.

  6. RavenzGunnerz - Jan 4, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    This is a sign of a badly coached team. Sorry woodson, but it’s your job to make sure your players are ready and prepared.

    I saw them moving the ball in the early part of the game, taking apart the rockets. Then quickly got away from it, letting the rockets back into the game. Call a timeout coach, reorganize your team. Haven’t you watched what coach popovich do when a team starts making a run at the spurs?

    • beach305 - Jan 4, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      I disagree. It’s a sign of a badly put together team. This is more on the GM then the coach. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken _____.

    • 5xchamp24 - Jan 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      yeah, I WATCHED him pull Duncan out of a game one time. I think it was last year if im correct, and the Spurs lost that game and the championship.

  7. pfic15 - Jan 4, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    JR Smith …when he’s on……you still can’t stand him.

  8. jimeejohnson - Jan 4, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    You all better hope J.R.’s mom doesn’t catch wind of your insults. She’ll kick your asses!

  9. aht66 - Jan 4, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I agree that it’s poor game management. The coach should have used a timeout to setup a play and follow up if the play breaks down. After the Knicks got the offensive rebound a timeout should have been called. This is how bad the Knicks need a true point guard! Everyone on this team except Chandler, has a shoot first mentality. They have no leadership on the floor. The young guys on the bench need more playing time. It’s time to start reevaluating the team, players and coaches!

    • beach305 - Jan 4, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      It’s on GM for signing these players. They all had a history of being undisciplined before they signed with the Knicks; World Peace, JR Smith, Felton, Melo…etc.

  10. 2016olympics - Jan 4, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Just selfish.

  11. reupjosh - Jan 4, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    @jcrileyesq is right… No need to foul brooks in that situation…

  12. breezytoocold123 - Jan 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    dude is trash lol

  13. goldmember21 - Jan 4, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Agree, this dude is trash. Why would you shoot the ball?!?

  14. csbanter - Jan 4, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    That play made you just want to slap Smith charlie Murphy style.

  15. weaselpuppy - Jan 4, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Did you all not understand what you were getting into? This guy is the definition of knucklehead. Whole team is built that way…ball stopping terrible shooters that don’t play D and don’t rebound (outside of Chandler, who can’t make up for the massive brickfest and uber amounts of Pure Dumb that this team generates).

  16. antistratfordian - Jan 4, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Hard to call a completely wide open three ill advised. The next best shot for the Knicks would be one right at the rim.

    Why shoot it there and not run more clock and take the final shot? The Knicks would be hard pressed to get a better look than that after the defense sets up again. That would easily be the best look they’re going to get inside of 24 seconds (no one is even running out to contest Smith – he is absolutely wide open and uncontested in a way that would’ve made Kevin McHale strangle somebody if that shot went in). And if the Knicks don’t take that completely wide open shot, as each second passes every other opportunity is going to get progressively worse and worse. The last shot would’ve inevitably been a Melo iso contested long jumper, which would’ve been far worse than this shot.

    So I would say Smith shooting it under these exact conditions is the opposite of bad basketball IQ.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM

      Except for the whole “we give the ball back to the other team” make or miss problem. You go for the last shot for the very reason we saw here, if the other team gets the ball they can win.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 5, 2014 at 6:51 PM

        You’re not increasing your chances of winning the game by eschewing the uncontested three to hold for the final shot.

        We know of the low probability of making a final shot – on both sides (so it really isn’t that much of a problem if your opponent has the final shot). So when you advocate passing up that uncontested three opportunity to hold for the final shot, you’re playing to go into overtime.

        Here’s the problem with overtime:

        The chance of the away team winning in overtime against a team with a better record is at best 40% – and that’s only if the away team had the lead through three quarters (in this case they did). If they away team was down after three quarters their chance of winning that game drops to about 10%.

        So there should be no solace in going into overtime on the road against a better team.

        Now the chance of making that uncontested three is comparatively high. And the chance of successfully defending a 3 point lead with 19 seconds left is very high – at least 80% according to So contrary to your “the whole ‘we give the ball back to the other team’ make or miss problem” – giving the ball back after a make there is not a problem at all.

        You want to have the lead with 19 seconds left. That is preferable to having the ball in your hands for the final shot in a tie game on the road.

    • borderline1988 - Jan 4, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      You always hold for the last shot in these situations. Do the math, and you’ll realize that there’s no question that your chances of winning are higher if you hold for the last shot, regardless of it being a JR Smith open 3.

      This is especially true considering that the Knicks defense is bottom-5 in the NBA, but their offense is middle of the pack, and Houston’s offense is top-3 in the NBA, whereas their defense is middle of the pack. Why on earth would you risk giving the ball back to one of the best offenses in the NBA?!

      Just a brutal decision by JR Smith. Bargnani’s mistake may have been stupider, but at least it didn’t cost them the game. JR Smith’s mistake did.
      And Bargnani just did what he’s been trained to do – he got the ball, and in the moment his instinct took over and he shot it.

      JR Smith actually thought his team was down by 2…what is wrong with him? How do you keep a guy on the floor who has no idea where the game is at?

      • antistratfordian - Jan 5, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        You are mistaken about that. Last second shots are usually high contested perimeter shots. So you decrease your chances of winning the game by passing up an uncontested three (a shot the league makes well over 40% of the time – that’s a conservative estimate) to go for the final shot (a shot the league makes less than 25% of the time).

        Having the ball for the final shot on the road against a team with a better record is a losing proposition – your chance of making the final shot is very low, your chance of winning in overtime is very low. You are at your most advantageous position standing completely unguarded at the three point line with 21 seconds left – that is when the Rockets were most vulnerable. That shot was actually the Knicks best chance to win the game.

      • borderline1988 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        “your chance of winning in overtime is very low”

        How do you figure that? The Knicks had played Houston to a tie over 48 minutes (as you say, against a team with a better record on the road); yet the extra 5 is when their chances go out the window?

        If you want to argue that probability-wise it’s ‘all or nothing’ at the moment JR Smith caught the ball, then obviously he should shoot. But it’s unrealistic to say that the Knicks have very little chance to win if the game was extended a few minutes.

        If you’re playing the Bulls, maybe it would make a bit more sense to take an earlier shot when open.

  17. ddpenny - Jan 5, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    bring back Chris Smith!!!!!!!!

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