|ESPN.com: NBA Playoffs 2013||[Print without images]|
BOSTON -- New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith has been suspended for Game 4 of the Knicks-Celtics playoff series for throwing an elbow that struck the chin of Boston's Jason Terry in Game 3, the NBA announced Saturday night.
Smith was ejected in the fourth quarter of the Knicks' win against Boston on Friday after hitting Terry in the face with an elbow. Referees ruled it a flagrant-foul 2. The league reviews all flagrant fouls in the regular season and postseason and has the option to reclassify the foul, impose a fine or suspend a player.
In a statement, the NBA said it suspended Smith for "throwing an elbow and striking the chin" of Terry.
Smith said on Friday he was trying to draw a foul on Terry on the play, which occurred with seven minutes to play in the game and the Knicks ahead by 19.
"That was a bad basketball play on my behalf, just because I got kicked out of the game and my team needed me," said Smith, who won the NBA's Sixth Man Award earlier this week.
Terry declined comment on the play before Boston's off-day film session on Saturday.
Before the NBA announced its decision, Knicks coach Mike Woodson and center Tyson Chandler both said they did not think Smith intended to harm Terry.
"It looked bad. I think it looked kind of worse than maybe it actually was. I don't think it was intentional," Chandler said.
Woodson said he spoke with Smith and reminded him to "keep his cool" in light of the incident. Woodson on Sunday said Smith was "a little down" but the coach declined to comment on the suspension.
"He'll rebound from it and we'll all rebound from it and keep moving," Woodson said.
Smith has a reputation as a player who can let his emotions get the best of him at times. But Woodson and his teammates credited Smith for taking a more measured approach on the court this season. Smith was whistled for two flagrant fouls and 13 technical fouls during the regular season.
Chandler disagreed with the idea that the incident was an example of the 27-year-old Smith's immaturity.
"I don't think there should be any suspension there. I don't think it was a case of his immaturity at all," Chandler said. "I think it was kind of a heated moment thing and he was trying to create space."
Chandler, who played with Terry in Dallas, referred to the veteran guard as a "crafty vet" and implied that he may have bated Smith into a reaction.
"(Terry) definitely knows how to get under people's skin. That's why you've got to love him, that's why I enjoyed playing with him. This is playoff basketball," Chandler said.
The Knicks own a 3-0 lead and can close out the best-of-seven series on Sunday.
It is unclear who will replace Smith in the Knicks' rotation. Smith is the team's second-leading scorer in the playofs, averaging 16.3 points per game. One candidate is Chris Copeland. Copeland, though, is scoreless in 24 minutes in the series.
"Next guy up," Woodson said on Sunday. "We've [got] James White, we've got Quentin Richardson [and] Cope's still sitting over there so we'll shuffle our lineup and go from there."
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg was used in this report.