The Knicks are on a mini-roll, winning three of their last four games, and will be facing the Heat Thursday night. But all the talk on Wednesday was the behavior of shooting guard J.R. Smith.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year — and the team’s resident problem child — was fined $50,000 for his latest transgression. Smith made news for all the wrong reasons last week when he untied the shoelaces of Mavericks forward Shawn Marion during a break in action at the foul line. And despite avoiding a fine for that childish behavior, Smith was sternly warned by the league office prior to Tuesday night’s win over the Pistons. But as malcontents tend to do, Smith essentially thumbed his nose at the authorities when he tried the same stunt on Pistons forward Greg Monroe in the second quarter.
Smith was subsequently fined late Wednesday afternoon, unbeknownst to head coach Mike Woodson, who was set to make his weekly appearance on ESPN Radio.
Woodson, upon hearing about Smith’s fine, sounded as if he’s had enough of the antics.
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“I keep saying this every time something pops up, but it’s gotta stop. Something’s gotta be done,” said Woodson, who stopped short of saying he’d take action on Smith, as in sitting him for the Heat game. “I don’t condone things that I know you shouldn’t do. I’m not happy about this, because again, he was warned, he comes back and he makes the same mistake. It’s not right. ... I just got the information [so] I’m going to address it tomorrow when he comes in here for work. It’s unacceptable. It really is. It’s unprofessional. That’s the only word I can use. Just cannot do it.”
Smith wasn’t available for comment following Wednesday’s abbreviated practice, as the Knicks said they didn’t even have enough bodies to work out. Woodson said there’s “a bug going around the team.” Between illnesses, injuries, treatment and a rest and recovery day, the Knicks only fielded six players on the court — Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Toure Murry, Jeremy Tyler and Smith.
Woodson declined to get into whether Smith’s teammates talked to him prior to the announcement of the fine, but said ultimately any change in Smith’s maturity needs to come from within.
“At the end of the day, he’s got to grow up. So how come it can’t come from J.R. Smith? After a while, these things have got to stop,” Woodson said. “There’s no question he’s done a lot of things this year that has put him in a bad position and our team in a bad position. ... It’s all got to stop.”
Knicks notes ...
»Smith has been fined $105,000 over the past two seasons for five different incidents — and almost $1 million for his entire career.
»To get a better understanding of the mind of Smith, when asked following the Pistons game if he understood the warning from the league and if their message sunk in, he simply shrugged and responded: “Yes and no.”
»Smith isn’t just hurting the team off the floor with his myriad of distractions, but he’s also been as harmful on the floor. The streaky shooter is on pace to become the first player since 1960 to log 30 minutes per game while shooting under 35 percent from the floor.
»Practice didn’t have a totally serious tone, as Carmelo Anthony reiterated in passing that he was unaware the Heat were coming to town.
“Is that who we play next? ... We got to face them some way, somehow,” Anthony said. “We can’t run from them. We’re getting better each day [and] they’re playing well, too. We got to lace our sneakers like they do come Thursday.”
»Woodson said center Tyson Chandler and forward Kenyon could be game-time decisions tomorrow because of illness. Point guard Beno Udrih is questionable, while point guard Pablo Prigioni is out.
»The Knicks listed Chandler (sick), Udrih (knee), Metta World Peace (knee), Prigioni (toe) and Cole Aldrich (sick) on their injury report today.
World Peace underwent a bloodspinning procedure on his arthritic left knee.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.