Veteran J.R. Smith’s is in the midst of a career-year and that has played a large part in propelling the New York Knicks to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and into the legitimate discussion of potential NBA champions. Though it came in a loss, Smith recently provided the production with a breakout 25-point, six assist and three rebound performance against the Indiana Pacers that boosted his career-best numbers for the season.
Since losing three straight games earlier this month, Smith and the Knicks have won their last two contests both straight-up and against the spread, which includes a 102-87 win against the Detroit Pistons as a 5.5-point road favorite on Thursday. Next up for New York is an inter-borough battle against the upstart Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. The Knicks, which just a month ago dispatched of the Nets 100-86 in Brooklyn, are a 3.5-point home favorite according to the NBA odds. The over/under is listed at 193.5.
If Smith—who is averaging 16.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3 assists this season—continues to emerge as a reliable third option along with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks should continue to prove formidable this season.