For J.R. Smith, Sandy and Katrina Hit Too Close to Home

NEW YORK -- J.R. Smith was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2004 and lived through Hurricane Katrina first-hand a year later.

Now, seven years after Katrina, Smith’s native New Jersey has been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and once again he’s seeing the damage and destruction up close.

“Just going to the Shore, the Jersey area, it just wasn’t the same,” Smith said after putting up 20 points off the bench, including 4-for-5 from downtown, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the Knicks’ 100-84 victory over the 76ers Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are now 2-0 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

“This is my second hurricane as a team,” Smith added. “One was Katrina and now Sandy, so it’s just tough. It gets kind of old and tired of seeing it, and just feeling for everybody else around you. It’s tough.”

Smith, who played for former St. Benedict’s Prep coach Dan Hurley and with the Playaz Basketball Club, is originally from Millstone, N.J. His parents still live there.

Even though the area is inland and away from the Shore, Smith knows plenty of people whose lives have been forever changed by the storm.

“It affected my house pretty bad,” Smith said. “My mom’s house, rather. A lot of my family, aunts, uncles, cousins not doing so well. But it’s just trying times, you just gotta [have] everybody stick together.”

Despite the personal nature of the storm, Smith played a stellar game Sunday, going 8-for-15 from the field, including three 3-pointers in the final period, when the Knicks outscored the Sixers, 25-18.

“He is more under control,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “Shooters are going to take some bad shots. That is just the nature of our game. I don’t mind that, as long as he is defending and doing the necessary things to help us win.

“Offensively, I have to help him because he is so talented in terms of being able to create a shot and make shots himself. He is so talented.”

Woodson said he actually had to encourage Smith to shoot it more.

“I was yelling at him to shoot the ball,” Woodson said. “That’s what I want him to do. I gotta put him in better position. I gotta try to make it a little bit more easier for him to score the ball.”

Smith, who has never met a shot he didn’t like, said he’s never been told to shoot more.

“Nah, never,” he said. “I been asked so many times not to shoot, it’s kind of weird. I shot a few bad shots. I started hearing a few boos from the crowd so that kind of messed with my head a little bit. He tells me to keep shooting I gotta keep shooting.”

Smith now has six 3-pointers on the season for a Knicks’ team that has made 30 overall in two games.

“Our blueprint is to play defense and move the ball to the open man and just keep playing hard,” Smith said.

After the win, Smith headed out to watch one of his fellow New Jersey natives, former Playaz teammate Victor Cruz of the Giants.

“Great Team win today! Now got to catch @TeamVic get the W @ 4:30 #Playaz4Life” He Tweeted.

Two New Jersey products trying to bring a little joy back into the lives of those from their home state.

***For more on the game, read my notebook with Video, Notes and Quotes here.

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No doubt that some of these guys are going to be replaced by draft picks. 

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

How could you improve on Folk?

With the others, it is easy to see how up-grades are possible, if more expensive.  Special Teams disappointed me last year, and the year before.  Lack of depth was said to be the problem.  If that's so is there wisdom in the penny wise, dollar stupid retention of mediocrity?


1. Pace----Let him test the waters again and wait until after the draft to determine if we 'need' to bring him back.

2. Reed----Definitely re-sign him as he is valuable in sub packages against the pass and a great mentor to the young safeties on the roster.

3. Douzable----provided solid contribution in rotational role and should be re-signed for more then the vet min.

4. Trufant----31 years old, time to move on and get younger here.

5. Lankster----Re-sign, good on ST's and nice depth at CB.

6. Mauga----Vet min with no guarantees, hopefully we upgrade in the draft.

7. Berry-----Re-Sign but put injury protection in the contract. let him go if he won't accept that.

8. Folk-------Lock him up for the next few years.

9. Walls-----Provides good depth at CB but if we draft someone, cut him loose.

10. McIntyre-----Hopefully we draft someone for OLB and cut this guy loose.

11. Nick Bellore---re-sign before free agency as Pettine likely will try and poach him. Good ST's guy.

We definitely need to address the CB position if we cut Cro loose in FA and or the draft.

OLB is another position where we should put some resources to complement Barnes.


@jake100 there wasn't any football last weekend either, only one team showed, the SB is like it never happened

Lloyd Jay Reife
Lloyd Jay Reife


Trufant was similar to Jim Leonhard in that they showed a good nose for the ball.  I'd keep Trufant so far.  Reed is good as long as Rex doesn't play him as he did in Reed's first two games.  Stifling others who could be gaining experience is counterproductive. l Too many bridges to cross by spring to make certain decisions. There is Free Agency, the Combine, the draft.

Now it's withdrawal Sunday tomorrow.

Bernard Mclaughlin
Bernard Mclaughlin

@a57se I actually agree with everything you,ve posted above.  Don't think all will happen but musts for me are Folk,Douyzable lankste, and possibly Pace , rest are replaceable with draft and FA money we have.


@a57se  Id keep Trufant hes good on STs and he has shown an ability to cover the shifty guys. Hes probably not to hard to replace/upgrade though.


I say resign berry trufant and douzzable, let the rest walk.


@levi @a57se  Trufant is a poor mans Mickens for every play he makes there's one he blows. I'd rather see his roster spot go to a young up and comer.