It's game one of the NBA Finals. The score is tied with 4.5 seconds on the clock when J.R. Smith gains an offensive rebound under the rim. Just lay it up and win, right? You know I wouldn't be writing this if he did anything remotely reasonable.
JR Smith did the most embarrassing thing possible
While LeBron is signaling wildly for J.R. to play basketball instead of keep-away, Smith nonchalantly dribbles out to the 3-point line burning most of the clock before remembering that he's playing in the NBA.
CLASSIC JR SMITH LOLOLOLOL pic.twitter.com/V609eAhWql— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 1, 2018
Anyone watching (in total disbelief) would see a closeup of J.R. Smith saying to LeBron "I thought we were up" as the clock expired. In interviews after the game, he completely flipped his story to say that he "thought we were going to call a time out". In this case, he was referring to LeBron. He couldn't even own it - he went so low as to point to the best player on the planet and say "it was his fault".
This has the makings of a legendary act of foolishness that reminds me of that one time Chris Webber called a timeout when they didn't have any timeouts.
OK, now we're all caught up on how stupid it can be to call a timeout - now we can fully appreciate how shockingly silly it is when you have an open layup under the rim and hardly any time on the clock. Smith just went completely brain dead - it's that simple.
LeBron walked out of the post game interview
As you might imagine, LeBron had plenty to say about it after the game. That is until he got asked the wrong (right) question.
Mark Schwarts: "...what's your reaction to that? What's your version?"
LeBron: "What do you mean 'what's my version'?"
MS: "Did he think the game was tied or did he think you had it salted away?"
LeBron: "How would I know that?"
LeBron then briefly explains exactly what was going on in the game. They were down one, George Hill hit a free throw to tie it up with 4.7 seconds left and then missed the second free throw. Smith grabs the rebound and then shits himself...
LeBron "I don't know what J.R. was thinking, I don't know what you're trying to ask."
MS: "Do you know if [Smith] knew the score?"
And that's when LeBron excused himself altogether.
Shenanigans just moments before
That excruciating end of regulation was just icing the the middle of a shit-cake for The Cleveland LeBrons.
With 36.4 seconds on the clock and leading by two points, James drew a charge from Kevin Durant. Nobody seemed to challenge the original call (because it was correct). However, a recent change to the rulebook allows the crew to go to replay in the last two minutes of regulation.
bballsociety_: Block or charge? ABC NBA Playoff: Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors https://t.co/SgCQIUgfRU pic.twitter.com/HdaDy4UeGE— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) June 1, 2018
It's never been done before so of course it happened. That's when the refs went to replay and changed their call from a charge to a blocking foul.
"The reason for the [review] trigger is that we had doubt as to whether or not James was in the restricted area."
Here's another stupid thing. LeBron wasn't even close to the restricted area. The review confirmed that he wasn't. But that doesn't even matter because the refs came up with an entirely different thing to call:
"It was determined he was out of the restricted area, but he was not in a legal guarding position prior to Durant's separate shooting motion so we had to change it to a blocking foul."
Instead of Cleveland having the lead and possession with 36 seconds, Kevin Durant stepped to the line and drained both shots tying the game.
Bonus Basketball Nobody Wanted
So, instead of winning it... twice... we get a charge turning into a blocking foul that ties the game and then instead of winning with an open buzzer-beater layup, we're off to play bonus basketball because J.R. Smith wasn't paying attention. (Or, whatever).
The Warriors would outscore Cleveland 17-7 in OT - the biggest OT defeat in playoff history. I don't think its surprising that the Cavs would play so poorly in OT considering they should have been in the locker room celebrating a win.
One Last Thing
Down 122-114 with 2.6 second on the clock Tristan Thompson was ejected and all hell broke loose.
Tristan Thompson ejected and then slaps Draymond Green. pic.twitter.com/l2olqg2Wfe— RealGM (@RealGM) June 1, 2018
Like I said, all hell broke loose. The game was already a travesty and a heart breaker. Thompson took issue with the ejection and then shoved/slapped Draymond Green for which he was awarded the elusive Flagrant 2. During the scuffle Kevin Love stepped onto the court, something he could technically be slapped with a suspension for doing.
Guys, Kevin Love (who was NOT in the game) was on the floor during the skirmish at the end while there was still time on the clock. Probably should be ignored but I don’t know if the league is allowed to overlook it pic.twitter.com/cXRNQ6PWKs— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) June 1, 2018
(Update: CBS Sports has reported that Love will not be served a suspension.)
No reasonable person would predict that we'll see this kind of fireworks in game two. One thing is for sure: blood is in the water and LeBron has proven to have killer instincts to make a shark think twice.