Notebook: J.R. brushes off Rihanna claims
May, 17, 2013
By Ian Begley and Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsJ.R. Smith scored 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting in the Knicks' Game 5 win at Madison Square Garden.Brushing off allegations made by Rihanna about his excessive partying, J.R. Smith insisted on Thursday night that he has focused on basketball, not social media.
"I'm not worried about Instagram, I'm worried about the playoffs," Smith said after the New York Knicks' Game 5 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Smith faced a question about Rihanna on Thursday night after the pop star alleged on her Instagram account that Smith has been "hung over from clubbing every night during the playoffs."
Smith, the NBA's Sixth Man award winner, has struggled mightily in the postseason.
He's shooting 22-for-75 (29 percent) in five games against Indiana.
Smith and Rihanna were rumored to be dating and, according to a report in the New York Daily News, had been spotted at a club together after the Knicks' Game 2 win over Indiana.
Smith scored 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting against Indiana in Game 5.
"Hopefully the little bit of rhythm [I found in Game 5] carries over," Smith said.
No Amar'e, Kidd in second half: A day after saying he wouldn't kick Jason Kidd to the curb, Knicks coach Mike Woodson played the veteran point guard just 5 minutes, 20 seconds in Game 5. Kidd did not play in the second half. Neither did Amar'e Stoudemire. Stoudemire played 6:34 on Thursday, totaling two rebounds and two points.
Asked about not playing either player in the second half, Woodson said, "Coaching is a feel. It’s not always what player's want. Today it’s about winning. That’s all I’m in it for. I’m sure Kidd and Amar'e wanted to play but I don’t think they’ll complain about anything."
Kidd has not scored in his past eight games. He missed a layup in the second quarter of Game 5. It was his only shot attempt.
Chandler, Felton OK: Tyson Chandler said his back, neck and wrist were in pain after he hit the floor hard following a fourth-quarter spill. But the center said he will be fine for Game 6. Same goes for Ray Felton. Felton tweaked his ankle late in the game. It appeared that it was stepped on as he went after a loose ball and came up with a steal at the end of the third quarter. He limped to the podium in his postgame news conference. "My ankle is sore, but I'll be ready to go on Saturday," he said.
Double screen, double trouble: In the first half, Felton was 1-for-4 from the field and had only two points. So coming into the third quarter, Woodson had a game plan to get his best attacking point guard going. The overall strategy was to run a variation of double-screen sets for Felton to go from one wing to the other and then quickly turn the corner to explode for the layup or pull up for the jump shot.
In the second half, Felton ran the play about four or five times, some sequentially, and he scored on three of them. It surprised the Pacers, congesting their defense in the middle of the paint. Not only did Felton capitalize, but Chandler and Martin had their best performances of the series as roll men.
"We found a play that worked," Martin said. "With a team having difficulty guarding one play, you want to milk it as much as you can to see what you can get out of it."