J.R. Smith, New York’s star shooting guard, finally saw some game-time Saturday in the Knicks’ win over Philadelphia, the first since he had been benched for both Thursday night’s entire game, and the first quarter of Saturday’s for “pretending to untie someone’s shoes.” The penalty was given out Wednesday, when New York met the Miami Heat.
Smith’s New York coach, Mike Woodsen, publicly called his player out on a radio show early Thursday, deeming Smith “unprofessional,” and his actions Wednesday night “unacceptable.” Smith never apologized for the incident publicly, besides doing so via social media, but he apparently met with his coaches on Friday morning to discuss the situation for the first time, according to NorthJersey.com.
Along with his 1.25-game suspension, Smith was targeted by his team’s officials as being a possible contender for a trading, and was also faced with league-imposed fines.
Huge apologies to my team, to the league an most of all you the fans! #JRSmithSigningOff
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) January 8, 2014
Smith managed to redeem himself Saturday night against the Sixers, however, when he entered the game after sitting through the entire first quarter, something he says, is “the worst feeling in the world.” After Woodsen put Smith in, though, the guard scored his team 14 points and maneuvered six assists throughout the remaining three quarters.
Asked any lessons he had learned from the experience, Smith says, “Be serious. Be professional.” J.R. Smith later elaborated that he should “not take his career for granted. but is “still trying to find” himself.
Smith and the Knicks meet the Suns next, at 7:30 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Main image courtesy Kevin Allison/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.