With 4.7 seconds remaining in regulation, Smith rebounded a missed free throw from Cavs guard George Hill and dribbled the ball beyond the arc with no urgency, leading many to believe that he thought the Cavs had the lead.
However, Smith told the media that he thought that the Cavs were going to call their last timeout with the score tied at 107.
“I was trying to get enough to bring it out to get a shot off,” Smith explained, 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.”
Cavaliers’ head coach Tyronn Lue said that Smith told him a different version of the story.
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
The fiasco will be discussed as the series rolls on and may live on in NBA Finals lore as one of the oddest plays to ever unfold during a critical point in a game.
Cavs’ superstar LeBron James says that the team just needs to turn the page on Game 1.
“We’ve got to move on,” James said, according to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver. “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.”
Cavaliers, Raptors Interested in Dragan Bender
Bender can still turn his career around, but he has issues with 3 point shooting and the physicality of the NBA game.
Cavs Expected to Waive and Stretch J.R. Smith
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, the Cavs plan to stretch his contract over the next three years.
Smith played in only 11 games during the 2018-19 season as the Cavs veered towards a youth movement.
Cavs’ Larry Drew Discusses Brandon Knight’s Play of Late
The Cleveland Cavaliers knew that when they acquired Brandon Knight in a trade deadline deal with the Houston Rockets, that they were acquiring a player that may be a ways away from returning to form.
Knight, who missed the entire 2017-2018 season and appeared in only 14 games this season due to a torn ACL, has been showing signs of a return to form in his short stint with the Cavs, and it has caught the attention of Cavaliers’ head coach Larry Drew.
“I know what he’s gone through over a period with the injury and trying to come back from it,” Drew said of Knight, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
“I know what he’s capable of doing. I know what type of player he is. He’s a fierce competitor. Not only does he do it from an offensive end, but defensively, he’s a tough kid. That addition in our lineup gives us a little versatility as far as we can move people around. … And I know how bad he wants to get back to the Brandon Knight of old. Certainly if he can get back to that, you guys are going to see a terrific player.”
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