J.R. Smith says Cavs don’t need to play dirty, Warriors have a guy who kicks nuts
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot of adjustments to make heading into Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals, especially after they lost Game 1 by 22 points and gave too many easy baskets away. While Cleveland didn’t play very physical in the opening game, starting shooting guard J.R. Smith doesn’t think that the Cavs need to do anything out of the ordinary or dirty when it comes to playing physical.
Smith was asked about the physicality in Saturday’s media availability. Here’s the exchange:
Reporter: “You guys had a lot of success the last two years against these guys slowint i down, getting physical. dirtying up the game almost. si taht something you guys might try to do moving forward?”
Smith: “They got one guy who keep kicking people in the nuts; I don’t know about that,” said Smith. “We don’t dirty up the game we just play physical. So if some people don’t like physicality that’s what it is.”
Quite the jab there by Smith, but he does have a point. The Cavs haven’t needed to be dirty to become NBA Champions, as evidenced by last year’s run. The only arguable issue was forward Dahntay Jones’ blatant low blow to then-Raptors which was a response to Toronto’s physical play.
Draymond Green and the Warriors, however, have been on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to dirty play. Last year, Green was repeatedly issues flagrant fouls in the postseason for unnecessary, excessive contact on fouls, and it caught up to him when he was suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals with his team up 3-1 at home. As we all know, the Warriors were unable to close the Cavs out, blowing the 3-1 lead despite having the NBA’s first ever unanimous MVP and the best regular season in league history with 73 wins.
This postseason, Green toned down his antics, with Zaza Pachulia’s controversial foul on San Antonio Spurs’ star forward Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals taking all the attention. Leonard took a fadeaway jumpshot and came down on Pachulia’s foot after the center undercut him on the close-out. Leonard would miss the rest of the series as the Spurs were swept by the Warriors.
In Game 1, Cleveland was outscored 56-30 in the painted area, outscored 27-9 in transition, and turned the ball over 20 times to Golden State’s NBA-record four times. These were all glaring issues, but all that can be fixed in-house as the series progresses.
Reporter says CLE had success "dirtying up the game."
JR: "I don't know about that. They got one guy who keep kicking people in the nuts." pic.twitter.com/wTEZ8mgQbY
— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) June 3, 2017
Game 2 will be Sunday night at 8PM EST.