Kickin' it with a Knick: J.R. Smith

March, 9, 2013
3/09/13
11:01
AM ET
J.R. Smith, Russell WestbrookElsa/Getty ImagesJ.R. Smith and the Knicks fell short against the Thunder on Thursday night.
J.R. Smith spoke with ESPNNewYork.com on Friday night about his Thunder-ous performance on Thursday, the Knicks' motivation in big games, their upcoming difficult five-game West Coast road trip and more.

What was working for you against the Thunder?

I was just taking my time. I wasn't rushing anything. My teammates really looked for me and looked for me to come up with big plays for not only just scoring, but moving the ball as well. Coach ran some great plays for me to get open and fortunately my shot was really falling. I just tried to slow the game down, take it frame by frame.

Obviously Carmelo Anthony didn't play and he's needed. But was there a key takeaway the team hopes to build on?

Our intensity when he's out really picks up because we know everybody has to bring their "A" game, from a standpoint of we don't have that 30-point scorer. So there's more of an emphasis as far as to go out there and not only as individuals, but play more as a team as well.

With the Thunder in mind, you guys have a knack for playing up to top teams. What's behind that success?

I mean, everybody on our team is a great competitor and fortunately we just have a lot of vets, so we know how to step up in big situations and come up with some areas to win. Unfortunately like [Thursday] night we lost by one, but to a great team who had all their guys. So I think it says a lot about our character.

Anything you want to work on in the days and weeks ahead?

I just want my game to keep evolving -- not so much just being a scorer, because that's what people see me as, but more as a rebounder and as a hustle player, an assists guy. I just want to be more well-rounded as an overall player instead of one-dimensional.

When you have a rough shooting night, like in the Heat win on Sunday, you still seem very transparent with fans on Twitter -- even challenging those who call you out. You must really enjoy the social media experience.

Yeah, definitely. I'm really into my fans, whether it's good comments or bad comments. I'm really on the social media. Every mention I get, there's very few that I don't check. I like to respond to them to see how they react, see what their thoughts are -- not even about the game, but just everything.

Next week you guys embark on a tough road trip. What are you looking forward to with that?

It will be good to get out west, playing in the Western Conference for so long and now finally in the Eastern Conference. It will be a challenge coming up -- two, three-hour flights in between each game -- but it will be good to see the Western Conference.

I hear Marcus Camby has some more rookie hazing for Chris Copeland on the cross-country flight.

Yeah, somehow, in some odd way, [Camby] finds like a 6-8 onesie for him. I don't know how he finds them, what website or what, but [Copeland's] been wearing them since day one. I think he's going to keep it up until he's not a rookie anymore.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.0 3.2 0.9 36.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.2
StealsP. Prigioni 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2