The New York Knicks are dealing with knee problems to three of their key players, but J.R. Smith is more concerned about another part of the body as the team continues to stumble towards the back end of a five-game road-to-ruin swing.
"We got to checkout our heart right now," said the Knicks guard. "We either got to compete or pack up and go home. It's just that simple."
The Knicks have dropped the first three games of their west coast tour by an average of 22 points and the prognosis doesn't look any better without Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire in the mix together for at least a while.
Smith held up his end of the deal against the Trailblazers — pouring in 33 points. But it wasn't enough.
"I don't mind losing," Smith said . "But if we just go out there and get demolished , that's a problem, especially when you're supposed to be considered one of the best teams in you division and your conference. It's just not a good look for us."
The Knicks' Atlantic division lead over the Nets is down to one game and dwindling. They close out the west coast tour with games against the Clippers and Jazz.