J.R. Smith Blunder Leads to Game 1 Loss for Cavaliers – Lebron is Less than Happy

I’m going to preface this article by saying I have not followed basketball in well over 10 years, but this moment was so funny to me that I’m willing to put it in the paper.
May 31, 2018 was Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Caveliers and Golden State Warriors. It’s not uncommon to see these two teams at the top, and their games tend to be close. It was the fourth quarter with 4.7 seconds remaining, and both teams were tied at 107 each.
Cleveland was in an advantageous position, taking a free throw to which was missed by George Hill, but the rebound was obtained and a chance was given to make a quick two pointer. Seems good right? Well, not when J.R. Smith picked up the ball.
Smith immediately ran out of the free court area into the three point shot zone…and kept running. LeBron was seen pointing both of his hands at J.R. Smith to take it to the net, but Smith was unaware that they were not ahead, and lead to the quarter ending at a tie, pushing the game into overtime. Cleveland could not recover, and the Golden State Warrior stole the victory 124-114.
What spawned from that game was a combination of twitter outrage and ridicule of J.R. Smith. Memes and jokes spread across the social media site, especially those picturing the dismayed LeBron.
The oddity of such a mistake in a professional league might perplex you, but this is not the first time Smith has erred. In another close game back in January of 2014 against the Rockets (back when Smith was on the Knicks), a tie was also the situation in the fourth quarter. The Houston Rockets were on the defense, and with around 22 seconds on the clock, Smith went for a 3 pointer, which rebounded off the back rim and was picked up by the Rockets. A foul was drawn, and although Smith did not commit the foul himself, the blame fell on him for not knowing the score to easily pick up a quick layup or at least set up a situation that was less risky in the more-than-enough time that they had. The Rockets ended up winning 102-100, and Smith admitted he thought the Knicks were down by two, which his why he went for the three pointer.
Smith was also fined in the past for “recurring instances of unsprotrsmanlike conduct.” What is this conduct you ask? Untying shoes. During the Jan 5 2014 game (2 days after the missed free throw in the last paragraph), Smith was caught untying Shawn Marion’s shoelace during Dirk Nowitzki’s free throw. Although they won the game against the Mavericks that day, just a few days later he repeated the act against the Detroit Pistons. Smith was fined $50 000.
This isn’t the worst damage he’s done to an opponent during a game. In the 2013 first round of the playoffs, Smith elbowed Jason Terry straight in the face, earning him a suspension for game 4. Although they ended up winning the series, the Knicks ended up falling to the Pacers later in the finals.
J.R. Smith also seems like his mind is elsewhere during basketball matches. In 2016, when Smith was on the Cavaliers and facing the Milwaukee Bucks, he left his defensive man wide open during a play after a timeout, which allowed for an open dunk for Tony Snell of the Bucks. What was Smith doing in the meanwhile? He was hugging Jason Terry; yes, the same Jason Terry that he elbowed just a few years before. I’m glad they settled their differences, but I don’t think their teammates fancied much of his antics.
This long history of J.R. Smith being … oblivious marks a reminder of misplays even with the top echelon of players in professional sports leagues. Although it’s pretty funny to us, I don’t think the Cavaliers are laughing at any of this during the NBA finals. Game 2 is scheduled for June 3, 2018, so let’s hope LeBron is in a better mood and J.R. Smith doesn’t untie anyone’s laces or elbow them in the face. However, if he’s suspended for a game or two, the argument could be made that another blunder won’t happen, which might be better for the Cavaliers. I’d like to say this is improbable, but it seems J.R. Smith makes the improbable happen. Anyways, cheer for your team, and good luck to both.

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