Harris DeckerJ.R. Smith has been playing a different brand of basketball over the last week. He, as well as the rest of the Knicks, are playing hard, loose and fast and for the first time this season, look to be having a great time playing basketball together.
What’s odd about Smith is that the thing he’s doing can’t be measured: Energy.
During the game against the Cavaliers, Smith was a walking highlight reel, throwing down a few massive dunks and hitting 2 of his 5 3-point attempts.
Smith is likely still feeling the effects of his offseason knee surgery, which took place much later than many thought would make sense.
Sitting in the Garden last night, one thing was abundantly clear: The Knicks feed off the swagger that Smith plays with. Because Carmelo Anthony isn’t a flashy superstar, rarely throwing down big slams, a guy like Smith can be the one who pumps the team up during scoring stretches. As juvenile as it sounds, this is a necessity for a winning team.
Smith has become the energy-maker for the Knicks. The Garden burst into applause multiple times last night. Sometimes for a big three, sometimes for a monster dunk and sometimes for a trick shot on a dead ball. Tim Hardaway Jr. is always the first guy off the bench, playing his fake guitar each and every time Smith brings the Garden to its feet. Smith finished last night with 19 points, shooting 50% from the field and adding a blocked shot.
It was a great night for the Knicks, partly due to Smiths electric play. Hopefully they can ride his lightning into a Saturday match up with the Miami Heat.