Cleveland Cavaliers’ shooter JR Smith is being blamed for the Cavs loss in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. After grabbing the rebound off a missed foul shot, he inexplicably took the ball back out beyond the three-point line with only 4.7 seconds on the clock in a tied game and didn’t attempt to shoot or get the ball to LeBron James who was open and calling for it. The game went to overtime and the Cavs were destroyed by the Warriors.
A report suggested Cavs coach Ty Lue said after the game that JR told him he thought the team was up by one point and was simply letting the clock run out. Replays of the game seem to show JR Smith mouthing those same words to LeBron who was in his face for the error. But, Smith is contending he knew the score and had something else in mind.
Ty Lue just went on the podium and said JR told him he thought they were up one and was trying to run the clock out https://t.co/PvJgu1dh9c
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 1, 2018
JR Smith told reporters he dribbled away from the basket with time winding down in the fourth quarter of Game 1 because he thought the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to call their last timeout in a tie game with little time left on the clock. “I was trying to get enough to bring it out to get a shot off,” he said, according to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. “I knew we were tied, I thought we were going to call timeout. If I thought we were ahead, I’d have held onto the ball and let them foul me.”
when you drop 50 in a Finals game that will forever be known as that time JR Smith forgot the score pic.twitter.com/l7Lba5uTyR
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 1, 2018
While it doesn’t really matter, since George Hill should have hit that last free throw and the Cavs were destroyed in OT, it’s easy to blame people for a loss that likley should have seen the Cavs go up one game while on the road in the Finals. James, who looked downright furious as the play unfolded had a change of attitude after the game. “We’ve got to move on,” LeBron James said. “This game is over and done with. I would never give up on JR. I never give up on any of my players, any of my teammates.”
Cleveland will go into Game 2 trying to even the series and it is likely, Smith and the rest of the Cavs will be keeping a close eye on the score.