Kevin Durant: ‘I don’t know what was going through J.R.’s head’
Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night was an incredibly entertaining game that devolved into pure madness at the end of regulation thanks to J.R. Smith’s mind-boggling blunder.
The Golden State Warriors capitalized on Smith’s mistake to secure a 124-114 overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, despite LeBron James’ superhuman effort while scoring a postseason-career-high 51 points.
And in the aftermath of the surreal scene involving Smith inexplicably not knowing the score — although he insists otherwise — everyone not surprisingly had an opinion on the insanity, including Kevin Durant, who actually played an integral role in the crazy manner in which things played out.
The scene played out after Cavaliers guard George Hill was fouled by Klay Thompson with 4.7 seconds left in regulation and the Warriors up 107-106. Hill made the first free throw but clanked his second attempt. Smith came up with a clutch rebound but shockingly dribbled the ball out towards mid-court before passing the ball as time expired.
WOW. We're going to overtime. pic.twitter.com/1YNEniJo1d
— ESPN (@espn) June 1, 2018
As the replay shows, Durant had the opportunity to secure the rebound but failed to box out Smith on the play, something the Warriors star admitted was a critical mistake.
Kudos to Durant for owning "I should have blocked JR out better than that. I need to fix that."
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 1, 2018
Durant, like many, was left mystified by Smith’s mental mistake. However, he sympathized with Smith in the wake of the stunning sequence of events.
Kevin Durant on J.R. Smith's blunder: "We've all done stuff like that on the basketball court. I can't talk about a situation that way because I've done some dumb stuff… I don't know what was going through J.R.'s head but he made a great rebound."
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 1, 2018
The Warriors capitalized on the situation by opening the overtime session on a 7-0 run and never looked back on the way to a bizarre Game 1 victory.
Steve Kerr admitted after the game the Warriors “got lucky” to eke out the overtime win. Golden State can thank Smith for that good fortune in many respects.