- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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J.R. benched? Knicks coach Mike Woodson appears to be making a statement to J.R. Smith. Woodson did not play Smith in the first half of Thursday's game. Smith is usually the first player off of the bench for the Knicks. His absence Thursday doesn't seem coincidental.
The NBA fined Smith $50,000 on Wednesday for his shoelace stunts in the Knicks' recent games against Houston, Dallas and Detroit.
Woodson, for what it's worth, said he is not talking about Smith's transgressions anymore.
Nice half for Melo: Carmelo Anthony certainly came to play in the first half. Anthony has 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting. He also has six rebounds and two steals.
One of his highlights was a blow-by dribble past LeBron James and dunk. He has spurred New York in a fairly strong first half.
James and Anthony have spent a lot of time guarding one another. James has 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
Bargs bringing it: Andrea Bargnani has also been pretty aggressive. He had 10 early points, highlighted by a reverse dunk. Bargnani is 5-for-8 from the floor.
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16dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford