J.R. Smith says Knicks expect “nothing less” than title

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What else do you expect him to say?

You and I and even most Knicks fans realize they are not title contenders as presently constructed. How good they are this season depends on how Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire (and Tyson Chandler) mesh on offense. Because when all three were on the court together last season the Knicks offense was awful (95 points per 100 possessions).

But the New York Post interviewed J.R. Smith at Fashion week and when asked how the Knicks would do he gave the only answer a player on a good team should give:

When asked what fans could expect from the Knicks this season, Smith said frankly, “a championship.”

“Nothing less,” Smith said. “If we settle for anything less, we already start off losing.”

He’s right. The team needs to go in with this attitude.

On the outside we can make what should be more objective judgment of the talent and how it fits together, but in the locker room they need to believe it will work.

So, when Smith or a player says something like this, I kind of shrug.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)