J.R. Smith reached down and untied Shawn Marion's left shoe during the second quarter of New York's 92-80 road victory in Dallas on Sunday.
You thought Nets coach Jason Kidd was the undisputed King of New York when it comes to ridiculous behavior aimed at concocting a minor competitive advantage during game action? Think again. Smith is coming for the throne.
With a little more than two minutes remaining in the second quarter and New York leading 48-33, Dirk Nowitzki stepped to the foul line for his second free throw. Smith, who had just checked into the game, lined up alongside Marion, occupying the third stall on the right side of the paint.
As Nowitzki went into his free throw routine, Smith bent down as if to check his shoes before reaching over to untie the laces on Marion's left shoe. Marion looked down, apparently catching Smith in the act, but by that point it was time to jockey for rebounding position and there was nothing he could do. Nowitzki buried the free throw, though, turning Smith's into a bit of pointless mischief.
On New York's next possession, Marion could be seen tying his shoe after Andrea Bargnani hit a short jumper near the free-throw line.
This wasn't as egregious or ostentatious as Kidd's soda-spilling stunt but there is an unsportsmanlike element to Smith's action. Although the injury risk is minimal, it's easy to see something like this drawing a technical foul if an official had seen it unfold. Longtime NBA writer Howard Beck suggested on Twitter that Smith could face a fine from the league office, and while that might seem heavy-handed at first, there is some slippery slope potential here, and Smith's repeated sanctions for other on-court and off-court incidents put him in a unique position punishment-wise.
This much is clear: Taking the court with the knowledge that one's uniform is free from tampering by an opponent should be an inalienable right in the NBA. If that means sacrificing the occasional Smith-inspired chuckle, so be it.
Smith finished with seven points (on 3-for-8 shooting), seven rebounds and three assists in the win over Dallas. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 19 points (on 6-for-16 shooting), seven rebounds and three assists.
Marion tallied two points (on 1-for-6 shooting) and four rebounds in 31 minutes. Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 18 points (on 6-for-11 shooting) and nine rebounds in 34 minutes.