New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has missed nine straight games with a strained oblique.
(Sarah Stier/AP Photo)

James Harden is on his way towards another amazing season. New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. just became his latest casualty.

In addition to becoming a perennial MVP candidate, Houston Rockets guard James Harden has made a habit of breaking ankles, leaving your favorite player on the floor with his devastating crossover.

The New York Knicks are in Houston to face the Rockets and Dennis Smith Jr. is Harden’s latest victim.

Despite being featured on someone else’s highlight, Smith might feel that he has a legitimate gripe for a missed offensive foul call when he watches the replay after the game.

Towards the end of his move, Harden definitely extends his elbow, which appears to get Smith off balance. But alas, the third-year man out of North Carolina State did not get the call and instead had to watch Harden drain a three-pointer to put the Rockets up seven.

This season, “The Beard” is averaging just over 35 points a game on 43.9% shooting from the floor. Harden is also dishing out over seven assists and six rebounds per game. It’s tough to fault Smith for falling victim to one of the best players in the game.

With injuries to both Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton, interim head coach Mike Miller turned to Smith as the starting point guard. And despite the rough start, give Smith credit. He battled back, made some steals, and scored two points and added two assists in the first quarter.

Late last week ESNY’s Danny Small spoke with Smith regarding his focus going into the second half of the season. Smith wants to be “present-minded” despite his inconsistent minutes and performance thus far.

Smith’s early-season struggles have been well-documented. The 22-year-old suffered a back injury and had to take some time away from the game after the death of his stepmother.

This play may not make Smith’s career highlight-reel, but with so much talent and still so much time to figure it out, the final 26 games will be crucial to Smith’s development.

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