A couple of weeks ago, J.R. Smith posted up a piece about his misunderstood self and how his season’s been with the Cavaliers. Smith was genuine about it, and tries to show the world that he’s not the bad guy he’s been made out to be.
Basketball is a very physical game, and sometimes, players get into skirmishes under the rim or on the perimeter. On a Sunday afternoon where the Cleveland Cavaliers were trying to sweep the Boston Celtics, J.R. Smith was shoved a couple times in the back while trying to box out Jae Crowder. Once Crowder pushed him a third time, Smith unfortunately retaliated by 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.”
Here’s the play from April 26, 2015:
After the game, Smith, who was suspended two games, had this to say.
“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.
Coincidentally, this isn’t the first time J.R. Smith has been ejected in a game against the Celtics. It wasn’t the first time being called for a flagrant two foul with his team up 3-0 in the playoffs. It also isn’t the first time he’s been ejected in April. As a matter of fact, Smith was called for a flagrant foul type two back on April 26, 2013 for throwing his elbow up at Jason Terry’s jaw and connecting. Smith’s retaliating was a result of the referee not calling a foul on Terry for reaching multiple times. Here’s the play from the exact same day two years ago:
After this incident against the Celtics, Smith, who was suspended one game, had this to say:
“That was a bad basketball play on my behalf, just because I got kicked out of the game and my team needed me.”
Clearly this isn’t Smith’s first time dealing with physicality the wrong way, and it could cost his Cavaliers squad this time as Cleveland gets ready to face either the Bulls or Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. We can only hope that the Cavs are able to maintain their streaking play going into the next round without Smith or Kevin Love, who had his shoulder dislocated by Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk in the first quarter of Game 4.