The New York Knicks have been forced to win without everyone on their roster at one time or another this season.
Now they will have to try and win without Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, who will have to miss Game 4 of the Knicks first-round series against the Boston Celtics after being handed a one-game suspension.
The NBA announced the suspension after Smith threw an elbow that struck the chin of Boston’s Jason Terry in Game 3.
Smith was ejected in the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ win against Boston on Friday after hitting Terry in the face with an elbow. Referees ruled it a flagrant foul 2. The league reviews all flagrant fouls in the regular season and postseason and has the option to reclassify the foul, impose a fine or suspend a player.
The timing of the elbow was awful as it came with only seven minutes left in a game that the Knicks led by 18 at the time.
The Knicks currently own a 3-0 series lead over the Celtics, which has some believing that Game 4 isn’t necessarily a must-win. However, New York hasn’t won a postseason series since 2000, so almost every postseason game is a must-win.
With all of the injuries the Knicks had to deal with during the regular season, the one constant had been Smith, who played in 80 regular season games before being given the final two off to rest for the postseason. The Knicks haven’t had to play without Smith all season, so it will be different as their second leading scorer won’t be available to Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson.
Smith is averaging 16.3 points per game during the series, after averaging 18.1 during the regular season.
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