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The Knicks Off-Season Begins With Tweets

MIAMI, FL - MAY 09:  J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks drives to the basket against Mario Chalmers #15 of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE  (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

We really did learn to love J.R. Smith this season. At times, we wonder if he was put on this earth to be the living embodiment of the reasons why some people prefer college basketball to the NBA — his crazy shots, his wild play, of course the tattoos — but, ultimately, you couldn't help but come around on him: He played great defense, he always brought energy, and sometimes he'd get so hot from the field that he looked like the platonic ideal of a pure scorer. Then he'd do something crazy again, and we'd shake our head, like he's the wacky neighbor in a sitcom who annoys us but, doggone it, we love the lunkhead, regardless.

But last night ... last night was the sort of J.R. Smith game that makes you want to throw a brick through your television. (Actually, you can't really through bricks through televisions anymore. Just at, one supposes.) He was out of control all night, and couldn't have hit the broad side of a barn with a truck he was specifically attempting to drive right into said side of said barn. It was the sort of evening that makes one think they've maybe had enough of J.R. for a while.

After the game, Smith said "hopefully I'm here." But then he got his phone out. He went on another Twitter run late last night, having noticed much of the Knicks fans' fury in his "Mentions" file. He retweeted a few of them and then landed on, "Damn didn't know this man people didn't want me in might just get what you asking for! ." You could take this seriously, but then you'd also have to take seriously his later retweet, which simply said, "Fuck Instagram. These females are turning into InstaHoes." So true.

Smith is unlikely to return next season, not because of Twitter meanies, but because some team will offer him more money than the Knicks, who have to worry about Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak to sign as well. (Novak says he wants to come back, but he'll want a raise as well.) The Knicks have a ton of questions to answer this off-season, and we've got plenty of months to sift through those. (They're likely not going to be as bad as some fear, but again: We can get into all that later.) For now, Tyson Chandler is angry, Carmelo is "confident," Amar'e wants Steve Nash, and the rest of us will watch other teams' basketball and try to unwind from this season. And say nothing to J.R. Smith on Twitter.

Photo: Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images