J.R. Smith wants to stay a Knick
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INDIANAPOLIS - J.R. Smith feels he let the Knicks down and wants another shot to make it up to them.
Smith finished off a brutal series by shooting 4-for-15 and scoring 15 points in the Knicks' 106-99 loss to the Pacers in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. He likely will opt out of his contract and test free agency, but he doesn't want this to be his last game with the Knicks.
"I want to retire a Knick," he said. "I don't want to go anywhere else. I love it. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. I was sitting in the locker room looking at my jersey after the game just knowing I don't want to be anywhere else except for in the orange and blue. So we'll see."
Earlier in the series, Smith said it was his fault that the Knicks were down 3-1 to the Pacers. He wasn't playing well, and there were reports about him partying before Game 1, which the Knicks lost at home.
Smith felt just as dejected and responsible after this game. The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year was outhustled a couple of times for loose balls in the first half and outplayed by Lance Stephenson (25 points). For the series, Smith shot 26-for-90, including 9-for-39 from three-point range, and never gave Carmelo Anthony the help he needed.
"I wasn't there for my teammates," Smith said. "You have the quote-unquote season that I had, your teammates are supposed to rely on you. They tried to rely on me and I didn't step up. Regardless of what that says about me or my game, that won't happen again."
Smith is owed $2.9 million next season. He may have cost himself millions with this series. The most the Knicks could give him is the average salary, starting at $5 million a year.
No Kidd againFor the second straight game, Jason Kidd didn't play in the second half, and for the second straight game, he left without speaking to the media. He played 6:23 in the first half, didn't take a shot and was scoreless for the 10th straight game.
Before the game, Kidd said he had no problem watching from the bench for most of Game 5. "No, the guys were playing great," he said. "So you got to go with the guys who are playing good."
Kidd, 40, finished the first year of a three-year, $9.3-million deal. He has hinted that this might be his last season, but it's hard to see him leaving guaranteed money on the table.
Hill clearedPacers guard George Hill was cleared to play after participating in the morning shootaround and completing all the steps of the return-to-participation protocol in the NBA's concussion policy. The Pacers said he was symptom-free for two days.
Mike Woodson said he might have played with a concussion when he was in the NBA, but he likes the league concussion policy and protocol. "Back in the day, I know I've taken some blows; you could have easily called it concussions," he said. "Hell, we just played. I don't know. That's the policy and I think it's a good policy. This is still a basketball game and you got to deal with your health -- that's the more important thing."