Heading into Sunday’s matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, the Tyson Chandler-less New York Knicks were eagerly awaiting the return of J.R. Smith. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year was serving a five-game suspension for violating the terms of the league’s anti-drug policy. Sure, Smith returned, but the 28-year-old was not the savior New York was hoping for. Instead, however, Smith proved to be the polar opposite.
The Knicks were beat, no, they were embarrassed, at home, by the defending Western Conference Champions. By the end of the 3rd quarter, they were down thirty. When the final buzzer sounded, the Spurs had recorded a 120-89 (yes, you read that right) victory. And J.R. Smith? He finished with 5 points and 4 turnovers, shooting 1-of-9 from the field in 21 minutes.
Smith struggled, but it is important to keep in mind that not only is he shaking off the rust from his suspension, but he is also coming off knee surgery. The Newark, New Jersey native is a streaky shooter who will certainly be an essential asset in New York as the season goes on. But Sunday’s loss was a depleting one, dropping last season’s No. 2 seed to the basement of the Eastern Conference.
The season is still young, but there has simply been a lack of execution and even a lack of passion when the Knicks have taken the court this season. If things continue to turn sour, do not be surprised if Mike Woodson’s head coaching tenure in New York comes to an end and beyond that, superstar Carmelo Anthony ‘s time as well.