Morning Jolt: April 22, 2011

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Friday, April 22

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Denver's Smith wants out

After playing only six minutes in Game 2, J.R. Smith isn't thrilled with the way he's being used by George Karl. [Smith] said there's a "strong possibility" he won't sign with the Nuggets this summer as a free agent, expressing frustration Thursday after the Nuggets went down 0-2 against Oklahoma City in the playoffs. "There's a strong possibility as of right now," Smith said. "It's not going the way I planned it to go. It's a tough situation. I want to be here, I love the fans and everything about the city. It's just maybe not my fit." The Nuggets had a team meeting on Thursday and Smith said the team didn't have "a pulse" as they regrouped at Pepsi Center. "Just frustration, just really didn't have any life in there," Smith said. "No one was really into it." (The Denver Post)Comment

Jeter heading in the wrong direction

With a trend dating back to the beginning of last season, some are now wondering how much longer the rope is for Derek Jeter. This is no longer a small sample size. Jeter has 810 plate appearances in that period; only Rickie Weeks, Ichiro Suzuki and Juan Pierre have more. That means Jeter is batting just about more than anyone in baseball - more than any Yankee since the beginning of last season -- and not producing on-base skills or power. His problems this year mirror last season. There is just no oomph in his bat. He has one extra-base hit in 71 plate appearances this year. He again cannot get the ball in the air with any authority. He has hit 2.93 groundballs this year for every flyball, which is the highest percentage in the majors. He led the majors at 1.96 last year. It is getting worse, not better. (New York Post)Comment

Peterson in Browns sights

Tom Heckert played meet-the-press Thursday. Heckert said a team needs at least THREE good cornerbacks. He has one (Joe Haden). He has one who is OK (Sheldon Brown) and he has Eric Wright, how ever you view him. They need help. He also said, "You are in the nickel (3 DBs on the field) about 60 percent of the time." ... At his last press conference about six weeks ago, I asked team president Mike Holmgren to rate the team's biggest needs. First, he said defensive linemen. Then, he mentioned cornerbacks. That's right, cornerbacks. While Heckert took two defensive backs (Haden and T.J. Ward) last year, that will not stop him from doing it again if he believes Peterson is an impact player. ... If Peterson is not there, they probably will grab a lineman -- perhaps Robert Quinn of N.C. Heckert likes fast, 250-260 pound defensive ends. (The Plain Dealer)Comment

Must-See Photo

Richard Kingi of the Rebels tackles Rene Ranger of the Blues as he dives over to score a try during the round 10 Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Rebels in Auckland, New Zealand.

Must-See Video

The Lakers' Kobe Bryant apparently travels against the Hornets but isn't called for it.

Game To Watch

Celtics at Knicks, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. New York Knicks

SI Vault: More Fernando Valenzuela

This Day in Sports

  • 1914 -- Babe Ruth's 1st professional game as a pitcher is a 6-0 win.
  • 1954 -- NBA adopts 24-second shot clock and 6 team-foul rule
  • 1962 -- NY Mets tie NL record by losing 9 straight to start season
  • 1981 -- Dodgers rookie Fernando Valenzuela tosses 3rd shutout in 4 starts
  • 1988 -- Women are allowed to compete in Little 500 bicycle race
  • 1994 -- Michael Moorer beats Evander Holyfield for heavywgt boxing title