Report: Cavs ‘have been extremely disappointed’ with J.R. Smith all season
Amid the fallout of J.R. Smith’s mind-boggling gaffe at the end of regulation in Game 1 of the NBA Finals comes a report that the Cleveland Cavaliers “have been extremely disappointed” with him all season long.
Smith made perhaps one of the biggest mental errors in NBA Finals history, a mistake that in large part set into motion the Cavs’ 124-114 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors.
After collecting a rebound on a missed free throw by George Hill and the game knotted up at 107 points apiece, Smith inexplicably dribbled out toward mid-court instead of attempting to put up a shot or at least pass to a teammate before the buzzer sounded, leaving all onlookers completely baffled.
The Warriors capitalized on Smith’s gaffe by opening the overtime session on a 7-0 run and never looked back on the way to a bizarre Game 1 victory.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared Friday on Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast during which he said it’s these kind of blunders and such that have left the Cavaliers disappointed with Smith all season.
“The Cavs have been extremely disappointed with J.R. all season,” Windhorst said, as transcribed by Clutch Points. “They feel like some of the good habits that he developed a couple of years ago when they gave him that contract have gone away. He’s been all over the place this year, he’s had some miserable moments this season and he’s had some games in the playoffs where he’s been absolutely a ghost. So there is that frustration within the team with J.R. for a long time now.”
Windhorst went on to say that Smith only made matters worse with his bizarre and arguably unbelievable explanation for his actions in the waning moments of regulation.
JR Smith: "I was trying to get enough to bring it out to get a shot off. 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."
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 1, 2018
Even Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue contradicted Smith’s claim in his post-game press conference.
Ty Lue: "He thought it was over. He thought we were up 1."
JR Smith, in a postgame scrum: "I knew we were tied, I thought we were going to call timeout." (via @FOXSportsOH) pic.twitter.com/TA6qPIxVmi
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 1, 2018
“That was not a great decision by him,” Windhorst said, adding it appeared to him — and others — that Smith said “I thought we were up” when confronted by LeBron James after the bizarre sequence of events.