During Friday night's loss to the Houston Rockets, the New York Knicks grabbed an offensive rebound with less than 24 seconds left in a tie game. Normally, you'd reset the offense and hold for the last shot. If you make it, you win and if you miss it, you head to overtime. That's not what the Knicks do in similar situations. Instead, Beno Udrih passed the ball out to J.R. Smith, expecting the offense to be reset, but Smith fired up an errant 3-point shot that gave Houston the ball.
Mike Woodson questioned the play but not in the way you'd expect. He believes that Smith "went blank," but also wonders why Udrih even passed him the ball in that situation.
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
There have been points in this 2013-14 season in which the Knicks have been an embarrassment on the court. They've had horrendous play mar what was supposed to build off their sucess from last season. The Bargnani shot from a couple weeks ago seemed like a low point. The Smith shot against the Rockets didn't even register on the same level as Bargnani's gaffe because you pretty much expect the Knicks to screw up at this point.
However, Woodson questioning such a basic part of the game that would always happen and never be questioned may be the new low point. It's not like Udrih tossed it to Smith and screamed, "make it rain!" He threw the ball to the open man -- one of two guys the Knicks would want with the ball in that situation -- and seems to motion to reset the offense for one final shot. Smith was on auto-pilot and just forgot the situation.
For Woodson to make an unsolicited excuse for Smith's mistake here is ridiculous. The Knicks' odd relationship with Smith and his family has been well documented. They gave his brother Chris Smith a guaranteed contract for the season after failing to cut him in the preseason. The fact that he had a training camp invite at all was heavily questioned. They cut Chris Smith this past week to make room for Jeremy Tyler and J.R. took the move as "betrayal," based on an Instagram photo after the news.
Is this an attempt to get back into Smith's good graces? Shouldn't this just be viewed as a mistake by Smith and let the issue die there? Why bring Udrih into it and incorrectly question him? If Smith misses a game-winning attempt on an inbound play, is Woodson going to question why the inbound passer would even pass the ball into play? This is just another weird, embarrassing moment in the Knicks season.
The funny thing is they're still very much in the hunt for the playoffs.