Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: J.R. just shoots
Oh, the career of J.R. Smith.
Smith has long been an incredibly talented player and shooter. He started his career as an athletic slasher who could dunk. He always had a lot of talent but fell short of it for so long. One of the what-ifs of the early-2000s when hero ball seemed to take over the league.
Smith is a pretty good player though, averaging 12.5 points per game for his career. And he is playing one of his better seasons of his career — averaging 13.6 points per game and shooting 45.7 percent from beyond the arc.
And, of course, Smith had his moment against Charlotte on Wednesday night.
Smith's step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer to sink the Bobcats and give the Knicks a 100-98 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday. It seemed like the perfectly Smith moment and he delivered.
The amazing part was that this was not a typical Smith game for this year. He scored 13 points off the bench on 6-for-16 shooting and hit on only one of his nine 3-point attempts. His super efficient 3-point shooting has been his calling card this year.
Still thre is no denying that Smith has had a very positive impact for the Knicks in their fast start to the season. Smith admitted that this summer he really took his game seriously and sought to expand his skills some. He has done that so far.
New York is just hoping his 3-point shooting does not crash back down to the mean and he can provide more moments like this.
2: Kobe Bryant makes history
Enough negativity about the Lakers. Things are not all bad in Los Angeles for this team and this franchise. After all, there was still history to be made.
Bryant did that in New Orleans with David Stern in attendance and a coronation it seemed.
Kobe became the youngest player to reach 30,000 points becoming the fifth member of that exclusive club. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. That is quite an exclusive club and certainly company Bryant should keep.
Bryant scored 29 points and looked like he did when he was 18 and just entering the league, attacking the basket with some explosiveness and desire. He wanted this achievement.
The best part was the Lakers won easily 103-87. So all is well… for now.
Air France lifts off
Bledsoe adds insult to injury
J.R. Smith for the win
4: Line of the Night: Al Jefferson — 31 points, 15 rebounds
It is difficult to defend Al Jefferson in the post. Nikola Vucevic learned that the hard way as he pump faked and positioned his way for every weakness in teh defense. Then eventually he just did that little push shot that is so efficient for him. The 31 points was a season high for Jefferson and he hit big shot after big shot for the Jazz in an 87-81 win over the Magic on Wednesday. Just keep feeding Big Al.
5: You can quote me on that
I'm sure he's had a great stretch of performances before, but what I love about the way he's playing right now is that he's in total control out there on the floor. When things get crazy, there's no need for me to call a timeout, because I feel confident and comfortable with his ability to run this team. He's playing at a whole other level probably than he's ever played.
We had a chance to fold the tent there and we didn’t. We persevered. I’m just happy that we pushed through it. There are going to be nights like that. We just have to push through those moments.