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| Sports |

J.R. Smith whining about playing time, leaving Nuggets hurts comeback odds vs. Thunder

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Nuggets fans have marveled at J.R. Smith's behavior since the Carmelo Anthony trade. Everything about him -- his attitude, his demeanor on and off the court, his shot selection -- seemed so much more mature that the idea of re-signing him after the season didn't seem like such a crap shoot. But thanks to comments he made yesterday, it does now.

As quoted in the Denver Post, Smith bitched about only playing six minutes during the game two playoffs debacle against the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday -- a decision coach George Karl explained by noting that the Nugs were a staggering minus-17 when J.R. was on the floor. Smith declared that there's a "strong possibility" he won't re-up with Denver, declaring that the squad might not be "my fit."

What's wrong with these statements? Every damn thing. In case Smith has lost track, the Nuggets are down 2-0 to the Thunder, with the second loss being so singularly humiliating that plenty of prognosticators are already counting them out. The only way they can get back into the series is with an intense, focused effort at home on Saturday -- one in which the many cogs in the Nugs machine are turning in unison. The last thing Karl and company need is a player demanding more time in the spotlight, or else. That's a formula for disunity -- and a quick exit from the post-season.

Yes, the Nuggets could use Smith's offensive punch -- and when he's on target, he can make the scoreboard flash like a slot-machine jackpot. Problem is, he's still too inconsistent, and when his shots aren't falling, he's apt to sulk, point fingers and poison the all-for-one, one-for-all atmosphere that's predominated post-Melo.

Denver's current predicament in regard to OKC certainly isn't all Smith's fault -- not even close. But yesterday, he put himself before his fellow players when only teamwork will prevent the Nuggets from getting bounced from the playoffs.

Stupid. And so very J.R.

More from our Sports archive: "Denver Nuggets-Oklahoma City Thunder playoffs matchup: The mighty vs. the many."

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