After denying rumors that he’s been partying too much prior to Playoff games, JR Smith came up with few answers regarding his struggling jumper. With New York Knicks fans growing frustrated, Smith thinks he needs to improve his mental approach against the hyper-aggressive Indiana Pacers defense. Per Newsday: “For three quarters, it was the same old story again. J.R. Smith hoisted up jumper after jumper. They bounced off the backboard, rolled off the rim and fell left and right — everywhere but in the hole. Smith, the emotional engine of a Knicks team that hopes to go deep in the NBA playoffs, opened the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pacers by shooting 1-for-10 in the first three quarters. Not so coincidentally, the Knicks lost, 102-95, finding it impossible to climb out of their 16-point deficit at the end of the third quarter. [...] Smith wound up with 17 points but shot 4-for-15, making it the third straight game in which he has been off the mark. Since being suspended for Game 4 of the Celtics series for elbowing Jason Terry, Smith has shot 12-for-42 and totaled 44 points in three games. ‘I don’t know. I don’t know,’ Smith said when asked if there is a reason for his shooting slump. ‘It’s just one of those things you go through, and hopefully it comes back soon.’ Smith said it wasn’t so much the Pacers’ defense that gave him problems as his own wrong mind-set for the first three quarters. ‘Really, I did it to myself,’ he said. ‘I was playing through a mental game, trying to get the basket, relying on my jumper too much. When I miss shots, I just need to keep pushing the ball instead of walking it up. I’m a big piece of the puzzle. I need to keep pushing and pushing and pushing. And don’t beat myself up mentally.’”