Who shot? J.R., of course.
J.R. Smith caught an inbounds pass from Jason Kidd thrown with 1.0 seconds on the clock and drained a miracle jumper of Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker from the left side to give the Knicks a wild 99-97 win over the Suns before 15,153 at US Airways Center Wednesday night.
Smith said that as he walked to the court out of a timeout for the last play, “I was like you’re going to make it! You’re going to make it!”
He rated it better than his first game-winner on Dec. 5 against Charlotte, and it did a nice job brightening the mood on a day that had a lot of bad news for the Knicks (21-8). Starting point guard Raymond Felton was diagnosed with a fractured right pinkie finger that may require surgery and could keep him out 4-to-6 weeks. And Carmelo Anthony missed the game with a hyper-extended left knee and coach Mike Woodson could give no timetable for when he will return.
Both injuries were suffered in Tuesday’s 100-94 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles.
“I’ve got nothing to say,” is all Anthony said when a reporter gestured to him inside the trainer’s room.
J.R. Smith sinks the game-winning, fading jumper.
Felton said that when he was told the diagnosis, he was “hurt” and “angry” but knew that he had to deal with the injury to get back as fast as possible. He will see a specialist in New York on Thursday, but has reassurances from the team’s medical staff that he will be back.
“This is not a season-ending injury,” he said. “It would last 4-to-6 weeks at most.”
It was a strong all-around Knicks effort as they again avoided losing two games in a row this season, even though they were without the two starters including Anthony, their leading scorer. Smith had 27 points and five steals; Jason Kidd had 23 points and eight assists; Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 12 rebounds; and Chris Copeland had 14 points. Pablo Prignoni gave New York 17 solid minutes at point guard to help compensate for Felton’s absence.
The lead-up to the final shot was dramatic. The Knicks led 95-90 with 3:34 left after a 9-0 that included four points from Smith, a tiebreaking three-pointer by Kidd and a Copeland jumper. But the Suns (11-18) erased it all and went up 97-95 as Jared Dudley, who had a career-high 36 points, made two free throws with 34.5 seconds to play. The Knicks evened it on a Smith fadeaway with 10.6 seconds left and then got the ball back when a broken play for the last shot ended in a turnover with the Suns’ Sebastian Telfair – guarded by Chandler – stepping on the sideline.
“Without our defense, we don’t even get to take that shot right there,” Kidd said.