The Cleveland Cavaliers closed out a three-game road trip with a 118-105 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night. Although LeBron James led the Cavs in scoring with 41 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and one steal, J.R. Smith also had a milestone performance, as the sharpshooter recorded his 12,000th career point in the NBA.
In his 31 minutes of action, “Swish,” as he’s came to be known, racked up 19 points on 8-9 shooting from the field (1-2 from beyond the arc), five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“I just listened to coach Phil Handy,” Smith said during his post-game interview. “He just told me to take the ball to the hole and try to get my game ignited from driving and finishing at the rim.”
Following Wednesday’s game, Cavs acting head coach (and head assistant) Larry Drew credited a dog named Remington for Smith’s outburst of production.
According to several reports, Cavs athletic trainer Steve Spiro made arrangements for a team meeting with Remington on Wednesday morning. “Remi,” as he’s known, serves as a service/therapy dog for the University of North Carolina’s baseball team.
“You know, I think it was the canine,” coach Drew told ESPN after Wednesday’s game. “I walk in the room, and there JR is sitting on the floor. … He’s sitting on the floor petting the [dog]. I think it was the canine that got him going. I can tell he’s very fond of that dog, and we’re going to have to get that dog back to more shootarounds.”
“It was right on time, especially for me,” Smith told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin of his interaction with Remington. “I’m an emotional person. I live in my head. I don’t really express a lot of things. But let’s just say it was right on time.
“It was exactly what I needed,” Smith continued. “Something to take my mind off the game and something to make me feel better.”
Smith and the Cavs — currently the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings with a 45-30 overall record — will be back in action on Friday night, as they’re scheduled to host the New Orleans Pelicans inside Quicken Loans Arena at 8:00 p.m. EST.
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