Five Takeaways: Knicks' Streak Ends In Battle With Bulls

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3. J.R. Smith Produces Off The Bench Again


Not only did Smith score 27 points, but he grabbed 14 rebounds and dished four assists. Without Amar'e Stoudemire in the fold, the Knicks rely heavily on Smith to provide the offense off the bench. Recently he not only has been scoring from long range, but in driving to the hoop and getting to the line. He did that again tonight, getting to the line for seven free throw attempts. Like Anthony, Smith also grabbed double digit rebounds.

Late in the game, Woodson again ran some interesting action with Smith. Recognizing that the 5'10" Nate Robinson was defending the 6'6" Smith, the Knick coach called for the talented 6th Man to get the ball in the low post. This move paid dividends for the Knicks as Smith was able to not only score over the shorter Robinson, but also facilitate to cutting teammates when the Bulls brought double-teams.

Looking ahead to possible postseason matchups, we could see Smith operating out of the post again. If Boston is the Knicks' round 1 opponent, it's likely Smith will again have a size mismatch in his favor. This could prove as an interesting counter for pesky defenders like Avery Bradley as well as help facilitate ball movement out of the post from somebody other than Anthony. We've seen Smith play out of the post at times earlier this season, but I really did like the way he did so tonight. My bet is we'll see that look again moving forward.

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images