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Atlantic Notes: Smith, Crowder, Scola

Former Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith is still upset with team president Phil Jackson for publicly discussing Smith’s personal life during an interview this past summer, Ian Begley of writes. “It was crazy to me because I try to leave my personal life on the side and when somebody sits there, sits behind a desk and tells you to open up on what’s going on with you, you’re thinking that’s going to be between the two of y’all,” Smith told Begley. “So, for me, it tells me something I already knew. But to come from someone like Phil, it’s just, it’s crazy. It makes you not want to tell anybody anything [that has] anything to do with your business. It was tough, but that’s how he handles stuff, that’s how he does it.”

Despite his negative feelings regarding Jackson’s comments, Smith still thinks back on his time in New York fondly, Begley adds. “There were ups and downs, to be expected, but I had more ups than I had downs when I was here, I think,” Smith said. “I’m just glad I was able to play here. A lot of people can’t play here, under the lights, under the pressure. I’m just glad I was one of those few who was able to.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil takes issue with any assertion that the team’s rebuilding process is moving along at too slow a pace, pointing to the team’s two potential cornerstones in Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, as well as the potential four first round draft picks that the franchise could have in next year’s draft, Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “I want to scream, like, ‘Are you guys kidding me?’ ” O’Neil said. “I would scream it. When people say, ‘You’re set back. You’re too slow,’ I’m like, ‘Have you guys lost your [expletive] minds?’ Like, seriously, this is it.
  • Jae Crowder‘s intense focus on improving his defense is paying dividends for both the player and the Celtics, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Through the team’s first seven contests, Crowder is leading the league with 3.4 steals per game, Himmelsbach notes. “All I try to do is make an impact on the defensive end every night,” Crowder said. “It’s not going to be perfect. You’re not going to hold someone scoreless in this league, but you can make it tough on them and you can have an impact on the game.” The 25-year-old re-signed with Boston this offseason on a five-year, $35MM arrangement.
  • Raptors power forward Luis Scola has increased his 3-point shot attempts this season in an effort to adapt to the way big men are being utilized in today’s NBA, writes Eric Koreen of The National Post. “The NBA is moving in that direction,” Scola said. “We all know how effective the three-point shot is in the basketball game today. I’m trying to adapt. That’s the way teams are playing.” Scola has attempted 1.8 deep balls per contest thus far, which is a significant bump from the 0.4 he notched per game in 2014/15, Koreen notes.
  • The Celtics have assigned Terry Rozier to the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Rozier’s first trip to the D-League of the season.

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