Opening Tip: Worried about J.R.?

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
7:00
AM ET
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the New York Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Do you worry that J.R. Smith can cost the Knicks in a big spot or are you satisfied with his play?


Thursday was one of the most J.R. Smith night's in the history of J.R. Smith, which is saying something.

The Knicks sixth man started off by missing two of his first 15 shots.

But he didn't hesitate when Jason Kidd found him alone beyond the arc with 1:11 to play and the Knicks up two. Smith calmly sunk a three to give New York a comfortable lead.

"He’s made a lot of big shots in his career," Mike Woodson said. "I had to just stay with him."

Smith rewarded Woodson's faith on the defensive end as well.

Smith and Iman Shumpert bothered Rajon Rondo into a turnover on the Celts' next possession.

Then, with the Celtics down three and 7.1 seconds to play, Smith forced Pierce to roll the ball off of his foot for a turnover.

Three game-changing plays in the final 1:11. Not a bad ending for Smith, especially on a night that began with him learning that he'd been left off of the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Some coaches probably left him off because of his reputation as an erratic player, which is fair.

But maybe it's time Knicks fans and basketball observers in general to accept Smith for what he is -- a maddening, fascinating, fantastic basketball player? Or is it fair to worry about his inconsistencies and fret that he could cost the team in a big spot?

Question: What do you think? Do you worry that J.R. Smith can cost the Knicks in a big spot or are you satisfied with his play?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.4 3.3 0.8 36.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 3.9
StealsP. Prigioni 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3