NEW YORK - The New York Knicks will be without J.R. Smith on Sunday as they try to close out Boston in the NBA playoffs after he was suspended one game for elbowing the Celtics' Jason Terry.
NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson announced the sanction on Saturday.
Smith was assessed a flagrant foul and ejected from a game on Friday after he appeared to deliberately jam his elbow into Terry's chin with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The move in the game at Boston's TD Garden seemed inexplicable, given the Knicks' comfortable 78-59 lead at the time.
It almost sparked a brawl, with Celtics coach Doc Rivers having to hold Terry back as he attempted to charge at Smith.
Smith, who scored 15 points in 24:21 minutes, said he was trying to prevent Terry from knocking the ball away from him.
"He poked at the ball. Almost knocked it out of my hands," said Smith, who scored the NBA's Sixth Man Award as the league's top reserve on Monday. "I thought he was going to make another swipe."
Asked if he thought the ejection was fair, Smith said: "I don't really know. I'm not really a judge of that... It was a bad basketball play on my behalf because I got kicked out of the game."
After winning the first two games at home, the Knicks cruised to a 90-76 victory in Boston on Friday to take a 3-0 stranglehold over the Celtics in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.
No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven NBA playoff series.
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