NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — J.R. Smith was benched in the Knicks’ 108-98 loss to the Bobcats on Tuesday night.
It was the second time in four games that the shooting guard has been benched. Head coach Mike Woodson also sat him this past Thursday when Ney York beat Miami.
Woodson didn’t want to talk about his decision to sit Smith following the game on Tuesday night.
“I’m not even commenting on J.R.,” the head coach said. “I just didn’t play him tonight. I didn’t play him.”
Smith was fined $50,000 for “recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct” last week after untying Dallas forward Shawn Marion’s sneaker during a Mavericks free-throw attempt on January 5.
Is that the reason he’s been benched twice in a week?
“Honestly, I don’t even know,” Smith said. “It could, it could not. But for that to be the trigger point for all this to happen is ridiculous.”
The veteran said that he was not notified that he’d be benched, but the decision didn’t come as a surprise to him.
“I stopped being surprised after the Miami game,” Smith said. “I haven’t the slightest clue … If I’m not helping the team, there’s no point in me being here.”
Some Knicks fans chanted the 28-year-old’s name in the fourth quarter at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday night, but Smith never saw the floor.
Smith, who signed a three-year, $18 million contract in July, insists he’s not worried about the possibility of general manager Steve Mills dealing him.
“I’m not even worried about that,” Smith said. “I’m trying to fix what’s going on here … You got to take the punches as they come. The communication from my end is over. I’m going to show by my effort.”
On September 6, Smith was suspended five games without pay for violating the NBA’s drug program.
On Monday, Woodson said that Smith has “got to be more of a pro.”
The New Jersey native is averaging 11.4 points, 3.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 32.0 minutes per game. He’s started nine of the 31 games he’s appeared in.
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