Will J.R. Smith Help the Nuggets Take the Bulls?

November 2009
The Denver Nuggets have dropped two games in a row, and they'll have the chance to get back on track tonight in Chicago. But, as CBS Sports writes, they'll have to go through a Bulls team that's playing well and looking for its first 4-0 start at home since some guy named Michael Jordan led them to a championship in the 1997-98 season. At 5-2, the Nuggets remain the league's highest-scoring team, led by Carmelo Anthony's 31.4 points per game. But he can't do it by himself, and the other players need to step up and help out. Luckily, J.R. Smith returns to action tonight after serving a seven-game suspension for the car accident that killed his best friend this summer and landed Smith in jail on reckless-driving charges. Smith is among the most beguiling characters in professional sports. His natural athleticism and ability make him arguably one of the best players in the league, but his immaturity has a way of limiting him on and off the court. His time in jail may have changed him: Smith says he wants to grow up, telling Nuggets.com's Aaron Lopez he wants to be known as Earl, which is his real name, and that J.R. represents the old "crazy" kid who was prone to "knucklehead" activities. Whatever we call him, the Nuggets need his instant offense, which averaged more than 15 points per game last year.