J.R. Smith: 'There's nothing but basketball' in Cleveland
In an interview with NBA.com's David Aldridge, Smith said it's a "great thing" that he landed in Cleveland after catching a reputation in New York for enjoying the nightlife and not being consistent enough on the court. Smith spent parts of four seasons with the Knicks before he was traded in a three-team deal in early January.
"Consistency has been something that...I wouldn't say lacked, but it's just been stints where I get hot, and then you go cold for two, three games, whatever the case may be. Just staying consistent, and that involves staying in the gym. So for me, I got my brother here with me, so we're in the gym every night, playing one-on-one, or whatever the case may be, as well as me getting my rest. I think this is the best situation for me, 'cause there's nothing but basketball. There's nothing you expect but basketball. There's nothing, there's no going out, there's no late nights. There's video games, basketball and basketball. So it's a great thing, 'cause I go back to where I came from. When I grew up, I never, I wasn't allowed to go out."
Smith has played 11 games with the Cavaliers since the trade, averaging 14.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 32.7 minutes per game, all increases from the 24 games he spent with the Knicks this season.
Smith said he had mixed feelings when he first heard of Cleveland's interest in trading for him, especially considering he would be leaving Knicks star Carmelo Anthony "by himself" in New York. The Knicks were 5-31 when Smith was traded and entered Wednesday 8-37.
"When I first heard about the trade and the possibilities, it was kind of mixed feelings. It was like, this could be a blessing in disguise. But I don't want to leave 'Melo by himself. Because just being in this situation, it's tough. Being in this situation alone is worse. So that bothered me a lot. And then I kind of got selfish with it. This is the best situation for me as a person. And make the best out of any situation. And I think I am right now. All the players seem to be responding to me very well, and the coaches love me. So I have no complaints."
The Cavaliers have won seven straight games and are the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 26-20 record. They host the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
- Mike Fiammetta