As the video shows, Smith received the inbound pass from Jason Kidd with 3.4 seconds remaining. Then, with rookie defensive whiz Michael Kidd-Gilchrist guarding him, he drove to his left, pulled up and knocked down the jumper as the clock ran out.
Sheed was absolutely thrilled about JR Smith's game-winner: twitter.com/johnschuhmann/…— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) December 6, 2012
Smith finished the night with 13 points off the bench, but no bucket was bigger than this one. According to ESPN Stats & Info, scoring big buckets hasn't been part of Smith's reputation:
J.R. Smith hits Knicks' GW shot. Prior, he was 0-7 career on potential game-tying/go-ahead shots with 10 sec or fewer left in the 4th qtr/OT— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 6, 2012
It's no secret that Smith is one of the best bench scorers in the business. He's averaging just over 13 points per game this season, coupled with just over five rebounds. He's never been shy with the ball in his hands, even when a larger defender, like Kidd-Gilchrist, is pressuring him.
Carmelo Anthony wasn't on the floor, so the Knicks had to turn to someone else, and Smith's number was called. Kidd tried to find Raymond Felton initially, but Smith knew what to do with the rock once he had it in his hands.
Making contested shots isn't easy, but making them with the game on the line is even more difficult.
The win puts the Knicks at 13-4, which is good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division. It's a long 82-game season, but Wednesday night's win is one that Smith and the Knicks will remember for a while.