Pop star Rihanna ‘clubs’ J.R. Smith

New York Knicks sixth man J.R. Smith has been struggling in the

playoffs, to the point where


target="_blank">he’s blaming himself for his team’s

second-round woes against the Indiana Pacers.

But if an Instagram comment


Thursday by R&B singer Rihanna is to be believed, there

could be a simple explanation for why Smith is stuck in such a rut

on the court: He may be spending too much time in the club.

On Thursday, Rihanna, who was rumored to be dating Smith last

year and was spotted with Smith


target="_blank">at a SoHo club last week, posted


photo of herself for her 7.4 million Instagram followers. Then

in the comments, she


target="_blank">reportedly responded to a user named



has since deleted his account — with the following

profanity-laced message:

src="http://larrybrownsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/rihanna-jr-smith-instagram.jpg" />

We’ll let you fill in the blanks, but it’s assumed

that the hoops star in question is Smith — a player for whom

partying has been an issue, both recently


target="_blank">and in the past. After New York’s Game 1

loss to Indiana at home, Smith, himself, took to Twitter to address

rumors that he had been out at a club the night before his 4-for-15

shooting performance:

However, after New York’s Game 2 win — Smith was

3-for-15 in that one — the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year

was spotted at another NYC nightclub with Rihanna, who was in town

for a concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

Smith responded after Thursday’s Game 5 win, saying “I’m not

worried about Instagram, I’m worried about the playoffs.” But

whatever Smith’s routine has been lately, he ought to shake

it up: He’s 30-for-102 in his past seven games, and despite

Thursday’s 85-75 win (in which Smith scored 13 points on 4-for-11

shooting), the Knicks still are one game from elimination.