NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Knicks guard J.R. Smith says there was no indication he’d be benched in Thursday’s 102-92 win over the Miami Heat.
“That’s the most misleading part of it,” Smith said afterward. “I could see if I was told, but there was no conversation about it. But it is what it is. We got the ‘W.’”
Smith didn’t play after his latest trouble, a $50,000 fine when he attempted to untie an opponent’s sneaker for the second straight game, after he’d been warned by the NBA not to do it again. Knicks coach Mike Woodson criticized the reigning Sixth Man of the Year’s behavior during a radio interview Wednesday but said before the game he wouldn’t discuss Smith any longer.
But the benching did the speaking for him. Smith often stood far away from the huddle during timeouts, but his teammates sure didn’t miss him on the court.
Woodson again wouldn’t comment after the game, but no Knicks player, not even Smith, seemed to know he wouldn’t play.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” Smith said. “I expected to do the same thing I always do. I did my same routine and it didn’t happen.”
Carmelo Anthony said Smith was “probably upset that he didn’t play today, but mentally he should be good. It’s not life or death. Things happen, situations happen, and we move on. I need him Saturday in Philly.”
“Honestly, really honest, I didn’t know what was going on,” Anthony said. “I stay out of that. Whatever decision is made, I leave that up to whoever made that decision.”
New York is 13-22 but has won four of five in 2014, with victories over San Antonio and Miami — last season’s NBA finalists.
When asked about his future with the Knicks, Smith responded, “Honestly, I don’t even know at this point.”
“At one point I was for sure, and now it’s rocking the boat,” he said. “But it is what it is. It’s the nature of the business.”
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