Based on official reports, including the one from New York Knicks reporter Tina Cervasio, J.R. Smith was a game-time decision for the Knicks' Game 3 tilt against the Indiana Pacers because of a 102-degree fever that kept him out of morning shootaround.
But that's no fun at all.
Instead of taking that explanation at face value, just about everyone with a Twitter account lined up to make some much more entertaining guesses about the source of Smith's mysterious malady. Considering that the league's Sixth Man of the Year has been making headlines lately for hitting the clubs with Rihanna, there was plenty of material to work with.
Obviously, Smith's penchant for the nightlife made for a few easy quips:
Sounds like JR Smith had the 10-hour Patron Flu. It's a real killer.— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) May 12, 2013
Props to JR for fighting through a nasty case of Rihannitisclubicus.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) May 12, 2013
There were also some more opinions that focused on how downright ineffective Smith has been during the postseason. Nobody mentioned that he was shooting just 34 percent coming into Game 3, but then again, Twitter's not exactly the place to go for trenchant analysis.
Fortunately, it is a good source of snark:
"Good thing JR Smith is healthy enough to play!" -- everyone in Indiana— Beckley Mason (@BeckleyMason) May 12, 2013
Whatever the cause of Smith's discomfort, he clearly wasn't in much of a state to be effective. He came out quickly after a couple of ho-hum minutes in the first quarter and slumped into his seat on the bench, well away from his teammates.
Knicks JR Smith, who had 102 fever this a.m., played 3 min, now not even in huddle at timeouts. twitter.com/Rachel__Nichol…— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 12, 2013
Some observers took the opportunity to show concern for the other players on the floor that might have been in danger of catching whatever Smith had—medically impossible as it might seem.
With Paul George defending J.R. Smith so closely, I really hope Paul doesn't catch J.R.'s hangover.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) May 12, 2013
Credit the reserve gunner for trying to give it a go, and for even returning to the game after looking like he was on death's door in his initial stint. And for what it's worth, he retained some of his trademark head-scratching style amid his illness.
JR Smith, runs pick and roll with KMart, almost runs into Kmart's back, takes a bad step-back, hits.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) May 12, 2013
Okay so we know JR's not STILL drunk. He always does that.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) May 12, 2013
In the end, Smith's evening ended early. Although, with the Knicks trailing by double digits and showing no signs of solving Indiana's defense, the game was all but over when he exited in the fourth quarter. He would finish with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting.
J.R. Smith just went to the #Knicks locker room with 7:45 to go in the fourth quarter.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 12, 2013
If Smith really is just sick—and it seems only fair to take what the team is saying as the truth—it's still his fault for making the off-court decisions that open him up to these kinds of jabs.
It's just too bad Smith's jumper hasn't been as on the mark as some of the better pot shots he's been receiving via social media.