It was a two horse race, but in the end Knicks guard and New Jersey native, J.R. Smith came away with the NBA's Sixth Man Award on Monday.

Smith averaged 18.1 points in 80 games, all off the bench. He had 29 games in which he scored 20 points as a reserve, tying sixth man runner-up Jamal Crawford of the LA Clippers for the NBA lead.

"I just wanted to show everybody that I could be a team guy and it's all about the team," Smith said at a news conference attended by his family, teammates and coaches.

J.R. is the third player in Knicks history to win the NBA's Sixth Man Award, joining John Starks (1996-97) and Anthony Mason (1994-95). Smith received 484 points, including 72 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 writers and broadcasters. The Clippers' Jamal Crawford finished second with 352 points, getting 31 first-place votes.

J.R. came to the NBA right out of high school back in 2005 and has admittedly made a number of mistakes along the way, but teammate Carmelo Anthony said Smith took a different approach to the game this year.
"I think there comes a point in time in your life where you're almost forced to grow up, you're almost forced to mature. You gotta be willing to want to do those things. I think right now, this season, J.R. has done that," Anthony said. "I think J.R. was forced to grow up, he was forced to be mature and he was willing to take on that challenge, too."
Smith helped the Knicks win the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994. He signed a two-year contract worth $2.8 million in the offseason. The second year has a player option, and Smith is expected to decline it and test free agency.