The NBA announced Wednesday that it has issued New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith a one-game suspension without pay for hitting Washington Wizards guard J.R. Smith in the groin.
The incident occurred in the fourth quarter of the Knicks' loss to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
In his first public comments since being issued the suspension, Smith indicated he thought it was clear the groin punch was not intentional, according to a report from the New York Post:
Asked if this was a reputation suspension levied by league disciplinarian Rod Thorn, the always volatile Smith said:
“Yeah, I don’t think it was something that anybody who seen it thought there was anything deliberate about it,’’ Smith said. “You got to take it for what it is.’’
Smith made a dribble move to the basket.
“I was just trying to clear space,’’ Smith said. “It was a short shot clock and was trying to clear space and get close to basket, so I could to get the shot off. It definitely wasn’t anything intentional.’’
President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn told The Associated Press the suspension was not based on Smith's reputation.
Smith sat out the Knicks' loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported that the NBA players union plans to appeal the suspension on the grounds that it was not intentional. A successful appeal would allow Smith to recoup his lost pay.
Over four games this season, Smith has averaged 7.5 point and 4.0 assists. The Knicks (2-3) play the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.
- Chris Johnson