The NBA announced this afternoon that J.R. Smith has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. It's the second time this season that a Knick has received the honor -- Carmelo Anthony did so previously.
Smith's efforts have been instrumental to the Knicks' current 8-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the league. In the four games this week, all wins, Smith has averaged 29.8 points and seven rebounds, while shooting 54% from the floor and 46% from 3.
He tallied three consecutive 30-plus point performances off the bench to open the week, including a season-high 37 on March 29 during a 111-102 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The last NBA player to score 30 or more off the bench in three consecutive games was the Milwaukee Bucks' Ricky Pierce in 1990.
Smith, his teammates and coaches attribute his success to a commitment to attacking the basket, which has manifested itself in an insane average of 10 trips to the free throw line over the past four games.
His efficiency is off the charts, and coupled with the team's success -- All-Star Carmelo Anthony suggested that the team follows Smith's lead these days -- it's no surprise to see him rewarded with such a high personal honor.