For the second time this season, JR Smith pulled through in the clutch for the Knicks, hitting the final two off-balance shots of the game to propel them to a 99-97 win over the Phoenix Suns last night. With Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton both out after Tuesday's hard-fought loss to the Lakers, the short-handed Knicks needed every bit of luck they could get to brush off the Suns—and Smith's absolutely incredible catch-and-shoot with 1 second remaining did the job.
“It was premeditated,’’ Smith told reporters of the final play. “When I was walking on the court, I was like, you’re going to make it, you’re going to make it. I was trying to get my form ready and go through my mechanics in my head and let it fly.’’
Smith finished with 27 points on 11 of 27 shooting with 6 boards and 5 assists, including those two game-defining jumpers with less than 11 seconds to go. “He loves that moment,’’ said Jason Kidd, who finished with 23 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. “I’m trying to figure out if that last moment was tougher than the (shot) before he took to tie the game.’’ The Knicks had led for most of the game before the Suns caught up and took the lead late in the 4th quarter.
The win made the loss of Felton, who'll be out for a month with a swollen pinkie, go down a little bit easier than it would have otherwise. About a month ago, Smith was in the same position when the Knicks beat the Charlotte Bobcats with a buzzer-beater (see video below). He also danced the salsa then—and lest you think he's ripping off a certain NY Giants wide receiver, Victor Cruz and Smith are old friends.