Tyronn Lue on J.R. Smith’s blunder in closing seconds
Following a disappointing 124-114 loss in overtime to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, there has been much scrutiny placed on a couple of the key plays in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. One of which was J.R. Smith’s major mistake with a few seconds left in the game after a missed free-throw by George Hill where he essentially dribbled out the clock on a tied game.
Smith had added to the drama of the situation by stating in his postgame interview that he did know the score after he secured the rebound and moved beyond the 3-point line. However, head coach Tyronn Lue tore that stance to shreds with his response to that moment voicing that the veteran guard had thought his team was up by one.
Ty Lue on J.R. Smith's blunder: "He thought it was over. He thought we were up one."
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 1, 2018
There is much more evidence beyond just Lue’s response as there is video after the clock ran out that caught Smith verbalizing to LeBron James that he thought they were ahead. It’s simply a moment that he doesn’t want to admit that he made that massive mistake in what could have been an opportunity for the Cavaliers to call a timeout and set up one final shot in regulation.
Instead, the Warriors took over in overtime outscoring the Cavs by 10 points in the extra frame where they simply had control throughout it all. This was a game where Cleveland could have come out on top in many instances with key plays going in their favor with James’ charge being overturned to a blocking foul that put Kevin Durant to the free-throw line. There was also Hill having the chance to put his team ahead by one point if he had made the second free throw with just under five seconds in the fourth quarter.
It isn’t a sky is falling moment for the Cavs by any means with it being just Game 1 as the team is likely feeling confident that they can not only steal Game 2 but, more importantly. compete with the Warriors.