Players often get into skirmishes while boxing out. It’s common for players to dislike some of the physical play and take exception.
On Sunday afternoon, J.R. Smith and Jae Crowder got tangled up fighting for a rebound, and Smith was the one taking a little exception, throwing his arm backwards and connecting with Crowder’s face. Crowder immediately collapsed, his knee bending awkwardly as he seemingly had no control over his body when he fell. Smith explained the situation from his point of view:
“As I’m boxing him out, I kept feeling his forearm on the upper part of my shoulders,” said Smith. “I tried to keep backing up, backing up. He kept pushing, pushing, pushing. And unfortunately I tried to swing my arm loose thinking that was the best way to get my arm up in position to rebound and I made contact.”
Smith was given a flagrant foul type two, which resulted in an immediate ejection from the game. The Celtics ended up coming back from the 21-point deficit and getting within six at one point.
J.R. knows he’ll likely be facing a suspension in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
“I know I’m nervous as hell to see what could come out of this,” Smith said after the game. “It’s a situation I put my teammates in and it’s a selfish act…Hopefully it works out for the best.”
Kevin Love, who also left the game early, has been diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder, and the Cavs are trying to stay hopeful and optimistic that Love will miss around 2 weeks, per Brian Windhorst. The Cavs are expected to give a full report on Love Monday afternoon when they return to Cleveland. Love did say he felt a lot better after the game, and had this to say about Olynyk’s dirty foul:
“I thought it was a bush-league play. I have no doubt in my mind that he did it on purpose. That’s just not a basketball play. The league will take a look at it and it better be swift and just.”
Nothing will be known for sure until MRI but word within Cavs team tonight is Kevin Love likely out a minimum of 2 weeks.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 27, 2015
Cavs beat writer Joe Gabriele tweeted out the scheduling for the Cavs next round against either Chicago or Milwaukee. The Cavs could use a whole week to rest Love and the guys before starting their next series. That two week preliminary timetable the Cavs put on Love would have Love return for Game 3 or 4.
If the Bucks-Bulls series ends in 5, it's #Cavs-Bulls on Saturday, 5/2. If the series goes 6 or 7, it's Cavs-winner on Monday, 5/4. Oh yeah.
— Joe Gabriele (@CavsJoeG) April 27, 2015
Crowder was diagnosed with a sprained knee immediately after the injury, but it’s severity will be known after further evaluation Monday. J.R. Smith said that, despite the injury and the look of it, he wants the NBA to see both sides before making their decision. Losing Love and now Smith could be huge for the Cavs next round likely against the division rival Chicago Bulls.
“It was nothing malicious about it,” Smith said. “I didn’t try to do anything to hurt him or anybody else. It’s not the way I play the game and unfortunately I got a Flagrant 2 and let my teammates down. We still advanced, but it’s still not a good feeling going into the next round.
“I’ve been in this situation before in the playoffs and it’s not a good feeling to go into. A new team, a new situation, feeling like things are coming on the up and up and to be “back in this situation again” is nothing I want to happen and unfortunately my team is going to pay for it more than anything.
“I want them to see the bumping and grinding from both ends. Just don’t look at it from one side because one person got hurt or whatever you want to call it. See both sides and try to make a decision off of that.”