The New York Knicks have won their sixth consecutive game, which is currently the team’s longest winning streak of the season. Their latest win comes from a 115-94 victory on Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks. As the Knicks make a run for a playoff seed, J.R. Smith continues to make a presence in the scoring department with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists in their last win.
Not only has Smith regained his role as the team’s second leading scorer behind Carmelo Anthony, but his resourceful shooting is significant for the Knicks’ rising offense. In the past six games, Smith averages 52.8 percent shooting from the field.
Smith had a rocky start to the season. He was recovering from knee surgery last summer to repair a torn meniscus. He also missed the first five games of the season because the NBA suspended him for violating the league’s anti-drug program; it was the third time he tested positive for marijuana use. Most notably, coach Mike Woodson benched Smith a couple of times during January. The actual reason behind benching Smith is unclear, but he was fined $50,000 by the league for unsportsmanlike conduct during that period.
Now, Smith averages 13.3 points per game and tied second with Andrea Bargnani for the team’s second leading scorer. His shooting is certainly helpful for the team during the streak, but Smith growing tendency of driving and dishing is influential behind the Knicks’ amplified ball movement during the past wins. The Knicks will need him to continue to penetrate in order to break down the defense and find his open teammates.