J.R. Smith says he is letting Knicks teammates down

Carmelo Anthony spoke in a whisper. J.R. Smith took blame for this collapse. Tyson Chandler had no criticism, just praise for the Pacers. Mike Woodson seemed stunned their shotmaking has gone so wayward, so quickly.

The Knicks have sunk in a deep hole, a series deficit from which the franchise never has recovered. The Knicks offense has collapsed — along with their once-promising season. Their first second-round appearance in 13 years is turning into a nightmare.

The Pacers routed the Knicks, 93-82, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to jack their second-round series lead to 3-1. The Knicks never have rallied from a 3-1 deficit — just eight NBA teams have in history.

“I take the blame for this whole series,” Smith said. “I’ve been letting my teammates down, I’ve been letting my coaches down, and it doesn’t feel good.”

Smith, still playing with the remnants of the flu, shot 7-for-22 for 19 points to extend his miserable slump. In six games since his suspension for an elbow in the first round, he is 26-of- 91.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post