The soap opera that is the Knicks 2013-14 season continues.
J.R. Smith missed training camp with a knee injury then the start of the season following a league suspension (for testing positive for marijuana use for a third time).
After all that, he has never been able to find a groove this season — he is shooting just 34.2 percent this season (it was 42.2 percent last season). The Knicks need more offense and he has not been able to provide it this year.
Which led to a an in-game struggle Friday between him and coach Mike Woodson, followed by Smith intentionally going into a shell Friday, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
According to a team source, Woodson admonished Smith for poor shot selection during the Bulls game and then became upset over something Smith said on the bench. Woodson waited until after the game to express his disappointment with Smith’s attitude and reminded the volatile shooting guard that he’s been his strongest advocate for the past two seasons.
“Mike said that after all I’ve done for you I can’t have you talking back to me like that,” the source claimed. The same source added that Smith made a lewd comment that angered Woodson….
Saturday night, Smith scored two points, making just one shot on eight attempts in 24 minutes, and appeared to be benched in the fourth quarter of a 111-106 win over the Hawks at the Garden.
Smith was averaging 11.6 shots a game going into this game. And he is missing a lot, check out his shot chart from this season.
Saturday night in a Knicks win over the Hawks Smith took 8 shots, hitting just one.
Even after looking at all that, it strikes me as a slippery slope for Mike Woodson to start questioning any of his players’ shot selection. That is especially true of Smith, who always has taken bad shots he just isn’t making them with the same regularity now. Smith made those shots on his way to being Sixth Man of the Year last year, Woodson just needs to hope those shots start falling now.
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.