Karl: Smith's decisions in playoffs led to benching

Updated: May 1, 2007, 6:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl has had enough of J.R. Smith's postseason mistakes.

"He's done," Karl told The Denver Post.

Following Tuesday's video session, Karl told reporters that Smith was being benched for Game 5 in San Antonio. The Nuggets trail the Spurs 3-1 in the series following Monday night's 96-89 loss in Denver.

According to the newspaper, Smith's mistakes throughout the series have bothered Karl, leading to his decision to bench him for Game 5. Karl seemed preturbed by Smith's 3-pointer with 25.7 seconds left in Game 4 on Monday night with Denver trailing 93-89.

J.R. Smith
Smith

"I have no idea what planet that came from," Karl told The Associated Press. Karl said he had drawn up a play to get the ball to Iverson or Anthony.

"And then, of course the one with eight seconds to go, from 50 feet," Karl said. "I just love the dignity of the game being insulted right in front of me."

Karl said some of Smith's minutes could go to Linas Kleiza, and Karl said Yakhouba Diawara or newcomer Anthony Carter might get their first action of the postseason Wednesday night.

Karl did not address Smith about the benching by the time he met with reporters on noon Tuesday.

Smith played well in the regular season, averaging career-bests in points (13.0) and 3-point percentage (39.0 pct) while hitting a career-high 149 3-pointers. However, he has struggled throughout the playoffs against the Spurs, going 0-for-12 from long range. Karl had stuck with him despite his poor performance in Game 3, which included a flagrant foul and a bad inbounds pass that Robert Horry stole before burying a 3-pointer.

"He's a good-bad player," Karl told The Associated Press. "You evaluate his good, you evaluate his bad. He had good plays in Game 3 and he had good plays in Game 4. But you've just got to be mentally more secure and tougher than he showed in Game 4."

Smith is averaging 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game during the series.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.