But in his defense, I think it’s a little easier said than done. Now this isn’t to completely absolve our good friend Woody, he of the endearing goatee and amiable personality, but I can also understand that at this point he’s developed a certain confidence and faith in J.R. and found it hard not to stick with him. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have perhaps leaned more heavily on Pablo Prigioni — who was playing well — or looked to see what Chris Copeland might be able to give offensively, but I can also empathize with him sitting there just waiting for J.R.’s shot to start falling because I found msyelf sort of thinking the same thing, even as it never did. That whole fourth quarter was like waiting on a surprise party that just never started. You were sure at any second the lights would flick on and everyone would be cheering, but instead you just sat there in a silly little paper hat, blowing on a broken kazoo.
And it’s hard for a coach to know when it’s time to just say, “Hey, this isn’t your day,” and look for other options. Sure, it could be when he shows up smelling like Christian Slater and wearing a plastic bracelet for shootaround, or you might just ride with him, content to go down with your best instead of looking to those eager folks at the end of the bench.
Anyway, it was just about the worst possible game for Smith at the worst possible time, with the “Has J.R. matured?” subplot metastasizing beyond anyone’s control, and that whole “Oh what the hell, I’m elbowing this dude in the face!” incident looming as a potential turning point in just a disaster of a series.
Or the Knicks win Friday and all is forgiven, allowing the Knicks to move on to the second round — Finally! — and sparing me the indignity of throwing up on myself. So let’s hope that happens instead.