There’s a lot of bad involved when dealing with J.R. Smith.
For most of the season he has played a major role in costing the New York Knicks wins and his struggles and antics both on and off the court make it nearly impossible to want to put up with him for the course of an entire season.
But when you do stick with Smith, occasionally he delivers moments like he did Wednesday night in the Knicks 107-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Smith scored 29 points on 10-for-19 shooting, including 9-for-12 from long distance.
His nine three-pointers tied a Knicks single game record that was done five times, most recently by Carmelo Anthony on Jan. 27, 2013. Latrell Sprewell, John Starks and Toney Douglas have also hit nine three pointers in a game as well.
None of Smith’s threes were bigger than one he hit late.
With the Knicks predictably allowing a a 24-point lead to be trimmed to a mere two with 4:30 to play, Raymond Felton found Smith on the left wing for a clutch trey, part of a 7-0 run that sealed the win for New York.
The Knicks, who shot 54.8 percent overall, were coming off a 31-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, a meltdown so spectacular that Phil Jackson, the team’s new president, left his private box in the fourth quarter so that he could walk his dog.
Fighting for their playoff lives they needed a win and a big effort from Smith, who has been pretty good as of late.
Despite struggling for most of the season and averaging only 13.4 points per game on the season, Smith has averaged 15.6 points per game throughout the Knicks past 10 contests and is averaging 15.3 points during the month of March.