GREENBURGH, N.Y. - -- J.R. Smith said the Knicks would have swept the Celtics and would have been on the golf course Tuesday had he not been suspended for Game 4.
Smith stopped short of saying he's already got a tee time set up for Thursday, but it wouldn't be surprising if he did. The Sixth Man of the Year returns Wednesday for Game 5 when the Knicks try to close out their first-round series at home.
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"Oh yeah, it would've been over," Smith said after practice Tuesday. "I'd have been playing golf [now]."
The Knicks' offense sputtered without Smith and they lost, 97-90, in overtime Sunday. Smith went back to New York early and watched the game there, and wasn't contrite about being suspended for throwing an elbow at Jason Terry in Game 3.
Smith didn't agree with the league' decision, but he wouldn't give his reaction to it because "it won't be good for me or my team." It also was clear Smith is motivated to quiet Terry and end any hope of the Celtics forcing a Game 6 back in Boston.
"Extremely," Smith said. "Can't wait."
Of course, the Knicks hope Smith controls himself because Terry may try and incite something again. Terry upset several Knicks with his talking and antics at the end of Game 4, so this is likely to be the most intense game of the series.
Smith said Terry hit him when he swiped for the ball, which preceded the elbow. But Smith never called Terry by name.
"Who?" Smith said. "I don't even know who that is."
Then he was asked if he was concerned Terry might try to get under his skin again.
"Who's that?" Smith said. "I don't know who that is. I'm sorry."
It should lead to an interesting night at the Garden and potentially a significant one for the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, who shot 10-for-35 in Game 4.
The Knicks haven't advanced past the first round since 2000, and they haven't closed out a series at Madison Square Garden since the 1999 Eastern Conference finals against Indiana. Anthony has only been past the first round once in his previous nine playoff appearances.
"We want to end it," Anthony said. "We can't think that we're up 3-1 and they're just going to hand it to us. They did a great job of competing in that Game 4, and now we have a chance to do something special here in the playoffs. Here on our home court we have a chance to close it.
"So when that opportunity is knocking, which it's knocking right now, we have to let it in, have fun with it."
The Knicks want to end the series for many reasons.
Although no NBA team has overcome a 3-0 series deficit, the Knicks don't want to return to Boston for a Game 6 Friday. They would host a Game 7 on Sunday if it got that far, but anything can happen if the series is extended -- injuries, suspensions or just giving a veteran team like the Celtics a lifeline could be disastrous.
"You don't want to go back to Boston and give them any courage or any [hope] that they can win this series," Kenyon Martin said. "So we are back home now and we got to take care of home like we did in the first two games."
As an older team, the Knicks also would like to get some rest before starting the next series against the Indiana-Atlanta winner. The earliest that series would start is Sunday at the Garden.
"It's a must," Smith said. "We're playing at our building. We're planning on not losing any games at our building, so I mean we've got to get this thing over as fast as we can so we can get J-Kidd his rest, Melo his rest, and get prepared for the next series."
It also would give Smith a chance to golf Thursday.