Photo courtesy of Yahoo

JR Smith is the newest member of the Knicks and re-enforcement to my point from the Pre-Lin era.

Dude gets off a plane from China, hops on the floor and just balls for 30 minutes. Hits some tough shots and shows some unselfishness, surprisingly. It was even obvious he hadn’t ever played with this squad before with some looking around with the ball while running through the paint.

Result: They beat the defending champs, (fifth best defensive team in the league) and Jeremy Lin continues to school any and all comers. He was double-teamed and trapped the whole game and what does he do?

14 dimes (career high).

A tough third quarter was quickly gathered under control by the wise-beyond-his-only-eight-games floor general. He rallied the team as well as the electric Garden crowd and comes up again with clutch, hard drives to the basket in the final minutes. Lin’s heroics against Dallas turned Steve Novak into a fourth quarter hero, proving he can get to the rack or hit the hot hand in his optimal scoring situation.

JR Smith also foreshadows what this team can do when Melo is inserted back into the line up, assuming he means what he has been saying and buys into the team play and passion on both ends of the floor. If, and that’s a big if, that happens, this Knicks team is all of a sudden a very tough contender in the Eastern Conference. And if the Knicks can claim the fourth or fifth seed, expect a strong run in the post-season.

Todd Giannattasio is a guest blogger for New York State Of Sports. Todd’s newest venture is an online store for quality beer fridges and wine coolers. You can follow him on Twitter @Tresnic.