JR Smith Calls Kettle Black, Says NY Knicks Lack Heart, Effort

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 1, 2014

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For most teams, a 23-point home loss would be an obvious low point of the night, probably of the month and maybe even of the season.

The New York Knicks aren't most teams. At this point of their nightmare, it's hard to tell one boo-bird serenade from the next.

Still, there are some particularly bad burns emanating from this season-long dumpster fire. Like, for instance, when resident fart-joke specialist J.R. Smith starts noticing a missing maturity.

"It's not a mental thing, it's a heart thing," Smith said, via ESPN New York's Ian Begley, after his Knicks stumbled out of Friday's 126-103 thrashing by the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden.

That's right, J.R. Smith has seen enough. The headband-tugging, shoelace-untying, Twitter-threatening, suspension-serving, surgery-delaying Smith says it's time to get serious.

I haven't seen anything that funny since, well, watching the Knicks defense Friday:

Smith, now serving as the voice of reason in yet another side-splitting plot twist in this season of "The Knicks," said that defensive effort is only part of what his team is missing, via Begley:

Guys get open shots, [they're] walking through the lane, running around, slapping high-fives, laughing, joking. When you're supposed to be a team trying to make the playoffs, you ain't gonna win. It ain't gonna happen like that. You gotta play with effort, play with heart. I mean, I'm not condoning knocking somebody down and hurting nobody. But we gotta do something. We gotta stick up for ourselves. We're just letting people do what they want to do.

Ouch. What's worse is the assessment is as honest as it is brutal.

There isn't even a playoff bubble left to pop. The Knicks have 23 games remaining with a six-game gap to close and three teams to leapfrog.

ESPN.com's Hollinger Playoff Odds, originally developed by former ESPN analyst and current Memphis Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger, give New York a 6.3 percent chance of finding a playoff ticket. That feels about 6.3 percent too high.

When the court jester stops laughing, it's time for a regime change.

Owner James Dolan won't fire himself, but a house cleaning is long overdue. Someone needs to pull Mike Woodson out of those sideline flames that have engulfed his coaching seat. If Tyson Chandler can be flipped for scrap metal, that's a no-brainer for New York.

If Smith can see chaos, imagine how this all looks to Carmelo Anthony as he makes his way toward free agency this offseason.

It can't be good. Something has got to give.

The fewer things from New York's putrid present that show up in its future the better.