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Saturday, November 30, 2013
J.R. Smith says he's not 100 percent

By Ian Begley

J.R. Smith's surgically repaired left knee is still bothering him.

"Somewhat, but it's all right. I'm still playing," Smith said after the New York Knicks' loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday. "It's taking time. I'm not one to make excuses, but I gotta play better. If it hurts that bad, I shouldn't be playing. But I'm out there giving it all I got while I got it."

Smith has struggled mightily with his shot this season. In 10 games, he's made just 33 percent from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc.

His effective field-goal percentage -- a measurement that incorporates the value of the 3-point shot -- is 39.7 percent. It was 48.4 percent last season, when he was given the NBA's Sixth Man Award.

Smith shot 5-for-13 (1-for-7 from deep) and had 11 points in 32 minutes against the Nuggets.

"I just missed shots. My jumper hasn't been there," Smith said. "There are situations where I have to make my teammates better, get guys open shots and keep driving to the hole. One thing I'm not going to do is quit shooting."

The Knicks signed Smith to a three-year, $18 million contract over the summer. He had surgery to repair a patellar tendon injury and meniscus tear in his left knee shortly after signing the contract. He also missed the first five games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the NBA's drug policy.

The Knicks had hoped Smith would be a consistent secondary scoring source behind Carmelo Anthony. It hasn't happened yet.

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