Following a deflating 93-82 Game 4 loss, the New York Knicks now trail 3-1 to the Indiana Pacers in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Knicks fan today who truly believes New York can turn this series around and win it.
According to JR Smith, he is to blame for the big hole his team finds itself in. Smith, coming off a putrid 7/22 shooting performance, says he has been letting the Knicks down since the previous series.
Per the NY Daily News:
“My frustration with myself is extremely high. I take the blame for this whole series,” Smith said after he shot 7-for-22 and finished with 19 points and two rebounds. “It started off in (Game 5) in Boston… I haven’t been playing (like) myself. I haven’t been playing my part. I’ve been letting my teammates down. I’ve been letting my coaches down. And it doesn’t feel good.”
Smith, who has played the past two games battling flu-like symptoms, hasn’t had one effective shooting night since he served a one-game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry in Game 3 of the first round against the Celtics. The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year is now mired in a 26-for-91(28.6%) shooting slump over his last six games, including 10-for-37 (27%) from three-point range.
Smith added that he was also bad on defense, unable to keep Paul George in check (18 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists.)
With the franchise’s first second-round appearance in 13 years turning into a nightmare, Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony tried to put on a brave face and said they believe the Knicks can somehow dig themselves out of this mess. They both think JR Smith can break out of his slump, and get New York’s offense jump-started again:
“We’re going to need him to score some for us,” Woodson said. “He’s going to have to put these two games here in Indiana behind us.” [...] “I want J.R. to shoot,” Melo said. “He can’t take the shots with him. I don’t want him to stop shooting. I want him to stay aggressive.”
On Thursday night back at Madison Square Garden for Game 5, Smith and the Knicks will get a chance to redeem themselves and extend their season.