Knicks' Smith all sound and no fury

Knicks' Smith all sound and no fury
May 2, 2013, 12:00 am
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NEW YORK — If the Boston Celtics manage to do the seemingly impossible - rally to win a series after dropping the first three games - they might want to break a portion of their playoff money for New York's J.R. Smith.

When you look at all that has transpired to work in the C's favor to make what was a sweep-in-the-making into a respectable playoff series, it all goes back to Smith and the elbow to Jason Terry's head near the end of Game 3 in Boston.

Since then, the Celtics have played their best basketball.

And when Smith had his first chance to help the New York Knicks put the C's away for good, he struggled - badly.

That was more than enough for the Celtics to pull out a 92-86 Game 5 win and cut New York's lead in the best-of-seven series down to 3-2 with Game 6 in Boston on Friday.

Smith, the league's Sixth Man of the Year award winner this season, had 14 points.

But he got it by shooting a woeful 3-for-14 from the field, 11 of those points coming in the fourth quarter as the Knicks tried to rally from a double-digit deficit that was aided in part by his early shooting struggles.

"I was extremely anxious," Smith said after the Game 5 loss. "I couldn't wait to play."

Too anxious, actually.

Shots that he normally knocked down in rhythm, were rushed.

At one point, Smith was taking shots and the C's defenders didn't even bother to put a hand up - a rarity for any team when Smith is shooting.

"It is basketball," said Knicks big man Kenyon Martin. "You make some, you miss some. He made some late ... hopefully it gets him back on track."

The Knicks certainly could have used his shooting, especially after another one of their key 3-point shooters - Steve Novak - suffered back spasms and was unable to play in the second half after logging just under three minutes of court action in the first half.

"We need him (Smith) to score the basketball for us," said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.

But even if those shots in the fourth quarter didn't fall, don't look for Smith to all of a sudden become gun-shy when it comes to launching up shots.

"Regardless if I miss five or six shots in a row, the next seven or eight is going up," Smith said. "I am a streaky shooter and that is how I get in my rhythm. That is how my teammates want us to play."

Knicks guard Raymond Felton has picked up much of the scoring load in the last two games for New York.

He had 27 in New York's Game 4 loss in Boston and 21 against the C's in Game 5 on Wednesday.

Felton didn't seem too shocked by Smith being a bit too eager to put the Celtics away on Wednesday.

"A guy who misses a game and is a big part of our season, of course he will be anxious," Felton said. "J.R. will be fine. Everyone will be fine. We have to get this thing (series) over with."