Knicks Seek Sweep of Celtics Without Suspended Guard Smith

J.R. Smith won’t be on the court tonight when the New York Knicks try to sweep the Boston Celtics in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

The 27-year-old guard was suspended without pay for one game after he hit Celtics’ guard Jason Terry in the chin during the Knicks’ 90-76 win April 26 at TD Garden in Boston. He was charged with a flagrant foul two and ejected with seven minutes, six seconds remaining in the game.

“I don’t think he’s tried to hurt anyone last night,” coach Mike Woodson told reporters yesterday. “It looked like a basketball play, trying to clear space to me.”

The 27-year-old guard averaged 18.1 points per game in the regular season. During the first three playoff games, he averaged 16.3 points.

The Knicks, who lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series 3-0, can eliminate the Celtics tonight with a victory.