Knicks' J.R. Smith: 'I'm panicking'

Updated: November 21, 2013, 11:00 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- J.R. Smith said the New York Knicks are mentally "frustrated" and that he is panicking after they lost their fourth straight game.

The Knicks' 103-96 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday was the team's sixth in a row at Madison Square Garden.

"

Smith We're frustrated. Like you say, it's too early to panic, but me, personally, I'm panicking. I don't like this.

" -- J.R. Smith, on Knicks' 3-8 start

"We're frustrated," Smith said of where the team is mentally, despite most saying it's too early to panic. "Like you say, it's too early to panic, but me, personally, I'm panicking. I don't like this.

"I don't want to play 3-8 basketball," Smith continued, in regard to the Knicks' record. "I don't want to play 50-50 basketball. If we're going to be a championship-caliber team and call ourselves that, then we've gotta play like that. It can't be no other way."

The Knicks played hard Wednesday and put forth the kind of effort that coach Mike Woodson wants to see on a regular basis. In several of their previous losses at home, the Knicks put forth lackluster effort and weren't competitive at times.

"I'm proud of how we competed," Woodson said. "That's something I hadn't seen a lot this early season, and that was New York Knick basketball. Unfortunately we're a little snake-bitten right now in terms of getting over the hump."

The Knicks are 2-5 since losing Tyson Chandler to a fractured right fibula. Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 18 rebounds, and the Knicks led by three with 9.2 seconds left. But Iman Shumpert was called for a foul on a Paul George 3-point attempt, and George (35 points) made all three free throws to force overtime.

The Knicks put forth effort Wednesday night, but it hasn't always been there this season. And that has been frustrating for Smith.

"Lack of intensity," Smith said. "I hate to say it, but our defense's backbone is on Tyson, and Tyson's not here right now. And we know that, and he's not going to be available for a few weeks now, so we've gotta step it up individually. It's a team game, but individually we've got to take pride in guarding the ball, guarding our man. We have to enjoy stopping the other team."

Smith, who scored 21 points but missed an open 3 with 57.1 seconds left and a tip at the end of regulation, said the Knicks can't just talk about putting forth effort. They have to do it if they want to be a contender.

"We play too up-and-down," Smith said. "When we are on the highs, we are great. When we are on the lows, we are terrible. We got to have that steady pace throughout the whole year.

"We lost to teams we have no business losing to," Smith later added.

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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