J.R. Smith was vindicated Tuesday when his flagrant 2 foul during the Knicks’ Golden State game Monday — an automatic ejection — was reversed to a lighter flagrant. But all that means is he will get some money back.

Smith, as well as Carmelo Anthony, makes his first homecoming since leaving Denver after the 2010-11 season, and has other issues besides having what he called “a target on my back’’ with the referees.

Smith is battling a sore left knee that was wrapped in ice yesterday during practice. Before Saturday’s game at the Garden, his knee issue became so severe he visited the team orthopedist Dr. Answorth Allen before the game.

“I’m all right, a lot of guys are worse off than me,’’ Smith said.

Smith, with his renegade reputation he weaved in Denver, is trying to change his offensive game and drive the ball more. But he needs the referees on his side. Smith was ejected in the third quarter Monday when he came down hard on Harrison Barnesgetting him across the face and chest.

“I thought it was just a hard foul,’’ Smith said. “I get fouled harder than that every night.’’

Smith is getting frustrated as he tries to rework his offensive game.