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J.R. Smith returns to Knicks lineup, says lesson learned is to ‘be a professional’

Jan 12, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks Getty Images

J.R. Smith has been at the center of attention in New York lately, first for on-court antics that resulted in a fine, then for being benched by Knicks head coach Mike Woodson in the team’s win over the Miami Heat.

This is how it goes, of course, when players get into any type of trouble — the attention lands squarely on their shoulders, for all the wrong reasons. But the Knicks have turned things around lately, and have won four straight and five of their last six since the new year began.

The focus should be on more positive matters, and maybe it will start to shift after Smith returned to the lineup on Saturday, played well for the first time in a long time, and said afterward that he had learned his lesson.

From Aaron Bracy of the Associated Press:

“That’s the worst feeling in the world, someone takes the game away from you, especially something you love,” Smith said. “It’s all you know, you’ve been doing it your whole life.”

“Be serious, be a professional and don’t take this opportunity for granted,” Smith on the lesson he learned. “There’s a lot of people in the world who want our jobs and we can’t take it for granted. It can be taken away just that fast.”

Smith sparked his team in the second quarter, going 4-of-4 from the field to finish with 11 points and four assists in the period, one in which his team outscored its opponent by 20 points.

The good news for the Knicks is that they managed to keep winning through the distraction, and with Smith back in the lineup they could potentially be even better. Those less optimistic, however, will simply wonder when the next needless controversy surrounding Smith will take place.

  1. nokoolaidcowboy - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Good for you JR. Just play ball man, just play ball.

    • lbmclean - Jan 12, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Good for you? Are you serious?

      • nokoolaidcowboy - Jan 13, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        Yep. I am. This is sports entertainment. I’d like to believe this guy would get serious and make more of a contribution to the sport. Will it happen, I don’t know.

        But compared to some of the other things athletes do nowadays to get into trouble, immaturity is at least some you can work with.

    • zerole00 - Jan 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      He’ll learn to be professional after this recent distraction just like he learned after his drug suspension.

      That is, not at all.

  2. doctorfootball - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    I’d love to believe this was the turning point in JR’s career. His history suggests this “new found maturity” won’t last though

    • spursareold - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      The only thing JR has learned over the years is how to say the right thing to the press.

  3. knoxxlive - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    You fine somebody for untying someone’s shoes but u wana give nicknames on the back of NBA jerseys ???? That quite the contradiction ,cause the NBA is Turing into a circus anyway!!!

    • spursareold - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      Sales and marketing 101. A new jersey type will send the fan boys scrambling for their wallets.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      just don’t put Jesus on the back of the jersey, god forbid you do that.

      NBA is a joke, maybe they should fix the officiating, we all know that is
      in great need of repair.

      • kingtotz - Jan 13, 2014 at 12:52 AM

        That’s why they made it J. Shuttlesworth. :)

      • jimmygrahamchrisivory - Jan 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        If the scriptures says “His head and his hair were white like white wool, like snow; and his eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters.”, then it would fit the description of the person wearing jesus on the back of his jersey anyway.

  4. captainwisdom8888 - Jan 12, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    How on earth has it taken JR Smith THIS LONG to learn a lesson as simple as “be a professional?” It is just a fundamental, elementary concept that is easily conceived by most everyone but you, JR. Human beings that use their brains thoroughly, they like to think about what positive or negative impacts that their words or actions will have on the people around them BEFORE the decision is made. JR only knows what JR wants…it’s just that simple.

  5. lbmclean - Jan 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    The next thing this tool learns will be his first. He has the physical skills of Jordan and the brains of a toddler.

  6. thomaskouns - Jan 12, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Just add 3 years to his current
    guaranteed contract (2 years remaining on this one) and we’ll see if this is ‘PR smoke’ or he’s truly become more professional.

    Have a ‘strange’ feeling he’d revert right back to his ‘old’ ways…

  7. dbones750 - Jan 12, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    By “our jobs,” did he mean his and his brothers? Bc when he loses his, so will his bro.

  8. knicksdyinghard - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    JR, I still don’t believe yah. You’re a hard to trust guy, sorry.

  9. bhunter1995 - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    He says this now, but next week he will probably pull off someones shoe on the fastbreak.

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