The New York Knicks are still mulling over J.R. Smith's decision to take an untimely three-point attempt at the end of their late-game collapse to the Houston Rockets. Mike Woodson spoke with media prior to the Knicks' game against the Dallas Mavericks and said Smith "went blank" but went on to ask a simple question: Did Beno Udrih have to pass him the ball? Via Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
On the end of the Houston game, Woodson said J.R. Smith "went blank," but unsolicited said "Did Beno have to throw him the ball?"— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) January 5, 2014
Did Beno have to? In case you missed the "infamous" play, here's what went down:
The shot clock had turned off and the game was down to the final possession after Tyson Chandler retrieved the offensive rebound. Chandler passed out to Udrih, who then passed it to Smith alone at the top of the arc. It's not uncommon for teams to reset their offense at the top, but it is uncommon for a team to take a shot that early in a final-possession situation.
Aaron Brooks made two free-throws on the other end and Houston wound up with a win after the gaffe from Smith.
Of course, using the aforementioned logic, did Chandler have to pass to Udrih? More importantly, if a coach doesn't trust a player to have the ball in their hands late in the game and wonders aloud if his teammates should have passed to him, why is he in the game to begin with? It's not just the terrible timing of the shot, but Smith admitted after the game he was unaware of the score and thought the Knicks were down two:
Just another day for the Knicks, who have lost four of their last five games.