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Knicks Insider: NBA suspends J.R. Smith 1 game for groin shot on Glen Rice

Derek Fisher gets his first look at J.R. Smith's antics as the Knicks' sixth man hits opponent in the groin.Frank Franklin II/AP
Derek Fisher gets his first look at J.R. Smith’s antics as the Knicks’ sixth man hits opponent in the groin.



AUBURN HILLS — J.R. Smith proudly accepted the “honor” when Phil Jackson compared him recently to Dennis Rodman, and the volatile Knick has added to his reputation as an NBA bad boy.


Smith earned his latest suspension without pay from the NBA — he was banned for Wednesday night’s game against the Pistons — after striking Glen Rice Jr. in the groin the previous night in a loss to the Wizards at the Garden. The incident happened late in the fourth quarter as the oft-reprimanded guard was dribbling with his right hand and hit Rice with his left hand with 5:45 left, although Rice actually was charged with a blocking foul on the play.


“It kind of came as a surprise,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said of the suspension before Wednesday’s game at The Palace. “We didn’t really talk about the play much at all (Tuesday) night. I got a call from (GM) Steve Mills this morning giving me the heads-up. We weren’t really thinking about (it) until we got the call.”


Smith, who will forfeit $54,385 in salary for the one-game ban, has been in trouble with the league multiple times since joining the Knicks in 2012. But when asked by The Associated Press if Smith’s reputation weighed into this punishment, NBA president Rod Thorn said, “If you are a recidivist sometimes that may come into consideration, but in this case, no.”


Smith, 29, began last season serving a five-game suspension for violating terms of the league’s anti-drug program, then later was hit with a $25,000 fine for using hostile and inappropriate language toward Pistons guard Brandon Jennings on his Twitter account after Jennings had mocked Smith’s brother, since-released Knicks guard Chris Smith. J.R. Smith also was slapped with a $50,000 fine for untying the shoelaces of opponents during games.


In 2012, the NBA fined Smith $25,000 for posting an inappropriate picture of a woman on his Twitter account. And during the 2013 playoffs, he was fined $5,000 for flopping and was suspended for one game for elbowing Boston’s Jason Terry.


“We talk to all of our guys about being smart out there on the floor, knowing the NBA is taking a hard look at everything,” Fisher said. “But it’s not an alarm, as far as J.R. He’s been great this year and we don’t see this as a sign of what’s to come.”


Smith is averaging just 7.5 points on 39% shooting — going 2-for-9 from three-point range — but was logging a team-high 4.0 assists per game through his first four appearances (all off the bench). Late in the preseason he had admitted to “struggling” to adapt his game to the Knicks’ newly installed triangle offense.


ACY’S UP: Quincy Acy returned after skipping Tuesday’s game with a sprained wrist, grabbing six rebounds without scoring over 13:42.

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