J.R. Smith is still looking for answers. (Ron Hoskins/NBA/Getty Images)
It's no secret that J.R. Smith can't buy a bucket these days — I mean, we've now even got a Twitter account mockumenting his every misfire. He's seemed lost for the last six games, and while he found a bit of rhythm in the fourth quarter of the New York Knicks' Game 4 loss to the Indiana Pacers, there's a chance that any revived scoring touch is either A) a mirage born of the Pacers calling off the dogs after building a 17-point lead or B) too little and too late, now that the Pacers have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Even after getting something going with 12 points on 5 for 10 shooting in the fourth, Smith is shooting just 28.1 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from 3-point range against Indiana, extending a cold snap that began with a 3-for-14 return from a one-game suspension for flooring Jason Terry with an elbow. Smith knows his poor play has hampered the Knicks' offense, and he accepted responsibility after Tuesday's loss, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times:
“My frustration level with myself is extremely high,” Smith said. “I take the blame for this whole series.” He made reference to the Boston series, adding: “I haven’t been playing myself. I haven’t played my part. I’ve been letting my teammates down. I’ve been letting my coaches down. It doesn’t feel good.”
Smith also acknowledged the stark difference between the sharp all-around ball he played late in the season and what he's provided recently, according to Newsday's Al Iannazzone:
"I have to play more efficient. I have to rebound the ball. One rebound, two rebounds is not enough. Paul George is out there getting 13, 14 rebounds. As a wing player like myself, I'm pretty much playing the same minutes. It's unacceptable. I have to keep him off the glass. I have to keep the other wings off the glass. Overall just play better."
Yes, he does. That's inarguable. What's sticking in my craw, though, is the "this whole series" part.
Read More »from J.R. Smith takes all the blame for the Knicks’ awful series, which is nice, but wrong