06302022

Knicks Insider: J.R. Smith not deterred at buzzer

J.R. Smith misses the rim entirely as he goes for the game-winner.Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
J.R. Smith misses the rim entirely as he goes for the game-winner.






For a while, J.R. Smith had found his inner triangle.


Smith appeared more comfortable and confident in the offense on Wednesday against struggling Orlando. Perhaps he was too comfortable.


In the waning seconds, with the Knicks trailing by two, Smith missed a wild 27-footer with Carmelo Anthony motioning for the ball on the wing, sealing the Knicks’ sixth straight loss, 97-95.


The ball missed the rim completely, hitting the backboard and careening off as time expired.


Still, Smith believes it was the right shot, portraying the scene in front of him as too chaotic with Anthony not having enough room to catch the ball and operate.


So Smith chose to do what has always come naturally to him and shot the ball with Evan Fournier contesting the shot.


“Yeah, I mean I felt as though it was too many people,” Smith said of getting the ball to Anthony. “By the time I caught it, the clock was already at 3.5 (seconds left) and if I forced that in to him, what kind of shot is he really going to have? A turn-away fade-away? It’s not the best shot we want. I don’t think it’s enough time for him to set his feet and do what he wanted to do. I think we went with the best shot and I think it was the right shot and we just didn’t make it.”


And in the understatement of the century, Knicks coach Derek Fisher said of the final play and of the always sure-of-himself Smith:


“Once the ball came into J.R., he trusted himself,” Fisher said. “He had made some shots tonight and he took the shot. We live with that. You don’t draw it up for a three-point shot like that, but I have no problem with a guy believing in himself that he can help his team.”


NOT SO FAST

If Orlando forward and Islip, L.I. product Tobias Harris wants to play for the Knicks next season, he’s doing a good job of keeping it a secret. Harris addressed rumors before Wednesday’s game that he’s interested in signing with the Knicks this summer when he will become a restricted free agent:


“I’m going to let everything else handle itself and like I said, I’m about helping my team win and being in the present moment right now,” Harris said. “And that’s to play against the Knicks tonight.”




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