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J.R. Smith calls NBA Finals meltdown an ‘honest mistake’

J.R. Smith, after all these months, still has no choice but to address his inexplicable meltdown in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. But the Cleveland Cavaliers star believes the brain freeze can be simply attributed to an “honest mistake.”

Smith made perhaps one of the biggest blunders in NBA Finals history, a mistake that 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, and ultimately a sweep.

“It was tough, but it was the same after Game 2, 3 and 4. I didn’t take it no harder than those losses just because I made a mistake,” Smith recently said of the play, via The Undefeated’s Jesse Washington. “We all make mistakes. For my teammates to know that and have my back, [Game 1] wasn’t that bad. Talked to my coaches, everybody stood behind me 100 percent. The main thing was, OK, granted, you didn’t shoot the ball, but what if you ain’t get the rebound? Then what? We still would have been in the same situation. I could have shot and missed. Then what?

“I mean, it’s an honest mistake. People make mistakes all the time.”

Smith went on to mention how an NBA career littered with mistakes, setbacks and controversy — up to and including this past offseason — puts the Game 1 gaffe in perspective. In fact, Smith even made light of the mental meltdown in an Instagram post over the summer.

“I’ve messed up so many times in my life,” Smith said. “I mean, I can’t just point at one thing to be mad at.”