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J.R. Smith has Been Huge for the New York Knicks

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J.R. Smith hit his second game-winner of the season on Wednesday night when he connected on a pretty fade-away jump shot from the corner to give the New York Knicks a 99-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Smith initially caught the ball off an inbounds pass from the sideline with one second left and directly went into his contested shot as he was falling out of bounds. Mind you, this was directly following a previous Knick possession where J.R. Smith knocked down an 18-foot jumper to tie the game at 97.

With Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton sitting out after their loss to the Lakers on Christmas, J.R. Smith stepped up huge and was able to lead this team to a tough-fought road victory. Smith finished with 27 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals. It took multiple guys stepping up in order to get the win, however.

Jason Kidd had a season high 23 points to go along with eight assists (one turnover), and six rebounds. Kidd shot 50% from the field and connected on five three-point attempts. Tyson Chandler had a steady 14 points and 12 rebounds on six of nine shot attempts and rookie forward Chris Copeland helped contribute 14 points off the bench in nearly 30 minutes of play.

The New York Knicks have been a tough opponent all season long and they were able to remain competitive even without their best player and their starting point guard. Jason Kidd, who regularly has been playing the shooting guard position for this team, showed that he can still run the point like he used to. Kidd has been one of the most impressive players this year, considering his age and new team, and has provided a championship mentality to match with the defensive intensity that Tyson Chandler brings to this team.

J.R. Smith has been even more impressive and is putting together the best season of his career. In his ninth season in the league, Smith is averaging 15.7 points, five rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He is playing a career high 32 minutes per game and has been under complete control of his play all season long. The number one criticism of Smith in the past has been his inconsistent play and his tendency to get out of control and make poor decisions. This year, with Smith surrounded by veteran players, taking control of the ball has very much rubbed off on him. At only 1.5 turnovers per game, smith nearly has a two to one assists to turnover ratio despite his role as a significant contributor offensively for the Knicks.

Smith is the leading sixth man of the year candidate, in my opinion. Jamal Crawford has played extremely well for the L.A. Clippers, but does not add as many rebounds, assists, or steals and commits more turnovers. Smith was initially opposed to his role as the sixth man of the team with Iman Shumpert on the sideline due to injury; but he has embraced his role on the team ever since and everything has worked out tremendously for Mike Woodson and the Knicks.

To be able to throw in a guy off the bench and have him come in and hit multiple game winning shots is quite a luxury. The Knicks would not be close to where they are currently without J.R. He is their second leading scorer and they count on him to contribute a strong second punch to compliment Anthony offensively. His defense has been great and he has shown that he can be a willing passer and fit in well with the unselfish system Coach Woodson has set in place for the Knicks.

If Smith can keep this up, he should run away with the sixth man of the year award. But more importantly, Smith keeps this team playing at a tremendously high level and in a position to make a strong push at a top seed in the east. The Knicks are currently 21-8 and second in the eastern conference only behind the Miami Heat.

J.R. Smith has Been Huge for the New York Knicks

J.R. Smith hit his second game-winner of the season on Wednesday night when he connected on a pretty fade-away jump shot from the corner to give the New York Knicks a 99-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Smith initially caught the ball off an inbounds pass from the sideline with one second left and directly went into his contested shot as he was falling out of bounds. Mind you, this was directly following a previous Knick possession where J.R. Smith knocked down an 18-foot jumper to tie the game at 97.

With Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton sitting out after their loss to the Lakers on Christmas, J.R. Smith stepped up huge and was able to lead this team to a tough-fought road victory. Smith finished with 27 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals. It took multiple guys stepping up in order to get the win, however.

Jason Kidd had a season high 23 points to go along with eight assists (one turnover), and six rebounds. Kidd shot 50% from the field and connected on five three-point attempts. Tyson Chandler had a steady 14 points and 12 rebounds on six of nine shot attempts and rookie forward Chris Copeland helped contribute 14 points off the bench in nearly 30 minutes of play.

The New York Knicks have been a tough opponent all season long and they were able to remain competitive even without their best player and their starting point guard. Jason Kidd, who regularly has been playing the shooting guard position for this team, showed that he can still run the point like he used to. Kidd has been one of the most impressive players this year, considering his age and new team, and has provided a championship mentality to match with the defensive intensity that Tyson Chandler brings to this team.

J.R. Smith has been even more impressive and is putting together the best season of his career. In his ninth season in the league, Smith is averaging 15.7 points, five rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He is playing a career high 32 minutes per game and has been under complete control of his play all season long. The number one criticism of Smith in the past has been his inconsistent play and his tendency to get out of control and make poor decisions. This year, with Smith surrounded by veteran players, taking control of the ball has very much rubbed off on him. At only 1.5 turnovers per game, smith nearly has a two to one assists to turnover ratio despite his role as a significant contributor offensively for the Knicks.

Smith is the leading sixth man of the year candidate, in my opinion. Jamal Crawford has played extremely well for the L.A. Clippers, but does not add as many rebounds, assists, or steals and commits more turnovers. Smith was initially opposed to his role as the sixth man of the team with Iman Shumpert on the sideline due to injury; but he has embraced his role on the team ever since and everything has worked out tremendously for Mike Woodson and the Knicks.

To be able to throw in a guy off the bench and have him come in and hit multiple game winning shots is quite a luxury. The Knicks would not be close to where they are currently without J.R. He is their second leading scorer and they count on him to contribute a strong second punch to compliment Anthony offensively. His defense has been great and he has shown that he can be a willing passer and fit in well with the unselfish system Coach Woodson has set in place for the Knicks.

If Smith can keep this up, he should run away with the sixth man of the year award. But more importantly, Smith keeps this team playing at a tremendously high level and in a position to make a strong push at a top seed in the east. The Knicks are currently 21-8 and second in the eastern conference only behind the Miami Heat.