J.R. Smith Says He’s Learned His Lesson


Is J.R. Smith really ready to grow up?

I don’t know, but after returning to the lineup against the 76ers Saturday night, Smith told ESPN New York that he’s learned his lesson from being benched two nights prior.

“Don’t goof around, I guess. Be serious. Be a professional. And just don’t take this opportunity here you have for granted,” he said. “There’s a lot of people in this world that want our jobs. You can’t take it for granted. It can be taken away just that fast.”

Smith scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with six assists and got several compliments on his new found professional approach.

“I thought he was a real pro tonight, man, despite everything that’s going on,”Carmelo Anthony said. “For him to bounce back the way he did today and obviously put that stuff behind him and move forward, that was big-time for him as a person.”

“This is a situation that really opened his eyes up, he looked himself in the mirror and hopefully he wants to change, he’s got to change,” Anthony said. “It’s up to him now.”

“It’s the worst feeling in the world,” Smith said of getting benched.

(Coach Mike) Woodson called Smith “unprofessional” and said that the shooting guard needed to “grow up.”

“He’s been telling me that since I got here,” Smith said Saturday morning. “Honestly, ‘growing up,’ I don’t know if I really understand the true meaning of it.”