Jared Enjoys Big Breakout (Post)

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Jared Enjoys Big Breakout (Post)

Postby fredweis » January 31, 2007, 11:52 am


January 31, 2007 -- About the only thing that went wrong for Jared Jeffries last night was losing his right contact lens. After the last nine days, he can live with that.

Jeffries broke out of a slump with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He had gone scoreless in four of his previous five games and lost his starting spot. Last night, though, Jeffries made six of seven goals and played important minutes in crunch time in the Knicks' 99-94 victory over the Lakers at the Garden.

"It definitely felt good to be out there during the key part of the game," Jeffries said. "There have been many times lately I haven't been playing well. I've had no reason to be out there. The coaching staff and me have really been working hard to get everything back so I can play in these types of situations."

Besides his offense, Jeffries also came through with a big defensive contribution with a block of Brian Cook's 3-point attempt with 11 seconds left and the Knicks clinging to a one-point lead.

The block sealed the victory, but Jeffries lost his contact lens after Cook hit his eye on his follow through.

Jeffries lost his starting spot last week to Jamal Crawford, but Jeffries found himself back in the starting lineup in place of injured Quentin Richardson last night. Jeffries fought through the slump by staying after practice and working with assistant coach Herb Williams the last few days.

"I've been working real hard with Herb Williams to get my timing back," Jeffries said. "It worked out well tonight. I made some mistakes early, but coach stayed with me and it was good. Any time you can come out and put together a game like this and get a win on top of that it feels good."

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas praised Jeffries for not getting down on himself while he struggled. Jeffries played less than three minutes Sunday in Milwaukee and less than six minutes in three of the last four games, but he did not sulk.

"It was good to see him over the last week or so when he was going through tough times continue to work and continue to fight and not look for sympathy," Thomas said.

The Knicks signed Jeffries last summer to a $30 million contract. He has battled injuries and ineffectiveness in his first year in New York. Jeffries admitted last night that the contract has weighed on him during his struggles.

"There's more expected of you," he said. "I expect more of myself, too. Whenever you are brought to a situation to help, you're supposed to play better than I've been playing."
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