J.R. Smith thinks his problem is karma related to elbow on Terry

J.R. Smith thinks he tagged some bad karma. (USATSI)
J.R. Smith thinks he tagged some bad karma. (USATSI)

Knicks guard J.R. Smith fell apart in the playoffs. That's about all there is to it. Everything was going OK, until about this point. 

After that, Smith was suspended a game, sparking the Knicks' slide. Though they escaped Boston climbing back into the series by winning Game 6, Smith's return brought a cold streak for the ages for the gunner Sixth Man of the Year. 

Here's Smith in the first three games of the playoffs. 

And then here's how he shot after he gave Jason Terry the elbow. 

But hey, at least he made something we can use to caution vehicles to slow down on the road. 

So what happened? In an interview this week after Mike Woodson said that Smith "has to grow up and do the right things," related to his five-game suspension for violation of the NBA's anti-drug policy, Smith said he thinks he's suffered karmic payback. 

"I think [the elbow against Boston] probably [ticked] the NBA gods off," he said Wednesday. "When you mess with the game of basketball, the game gets you back. And it definitely got me back."

via Knicks Hope Smith Rights Himself - WSJ.com.

Now, I'm a big believer in the Basketball Gods, being a superstitious person and someone who's seen the weird ways things boomerang in this league. But there are other ways to explain the events that have gone on in Smith's life. 

The playoff slump could just be injuries. After all, it was discovered that Smith had fluid buildup in his knees during the two series. He had surgery this summer to repair his patellar tendon and arthroscopy for his meniscus. Granted, he waited untl after he signed his new deal to have it, but still. 

The other explanation for Smith's trouble has to do with his off-court habits. Smith was repeatedly spotted out at New York nightclubs during the playoffs, including after the Knicks' Game 4 loss without him. Smith denied he was clubbing before Game 1 of the Pacers series in which the Knicks lost as Smith went 4-of-15 from the field for 17 points. Smith was also spotted later in the series with singer Rihanna. 

Sure, maybe all this is tied together to Smith's decision to put Jason Terry on his back. Maybe this is all karmic retribution. But Smith did sign a three-year, $18 million deal with the Knicks this summer. And if you get past the hocus pocus, everything except the injury relates back to his decision making. Whether to elbow Terry, whether to party during playoff series, whether to take bad shots against good defense. Woodson thinks it's a question of maturity, but Smith turned 28 last month. 

Maturity is making bad decisions nd not knowing any better. Smith's problem seems to be less of a maturity problem and more about something to do with how his decision tree is inherently structured. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Moore's colleagues have been known to describe him as a "maniac" in terms of his approach to covering the NBA, which he has done for CBS Sports since 2010. Moore prides himself on melding reporting,... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
CBS Sports Shop
Cavaliers 2016 NBA Finals Champs Locker Room Gear
Our Latest Stories