J.R. Smith's blunder costs Cavs chance at Game 1 upset

J.R. Smith's blunder costs Cavs chance at Game 1 upset

OAKLAND -- 4.7 seconds might end up deciding the 2018 NBA Finals. It’s a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, but for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was all that was needed for everything to come undone.

It’s a play that will go down in basketball lore as one of the most inexcusable mental lapses ever. Or maybe it wasn’t. That depends on who you believe.

With just under five seconds remaining in Game 1, George Hill bricked a free throw that would have given the Cleveland Cavaliers an improbable one-point lead in the waning seconds over the Warriors on their home court.

Veteran J.R. Smith snared a rebound, giving the Cavs a second shot to win it in regulation. Instead of going back up with it, Smith dribbled the ball almost to halfcourt, while Steph Curry and Klay Thompson surrounded him and LeBron James stood nearby in anguish.

“George shot the free throw, I got the rebound,” Smith said following the game. “Tie ballgame and we had a timeout. I tried to get enough space to maybe get a shot off. KD [Kevin Durant] was standing right there. I tried to bring it out and get enough space to maybe get a shot off. I looked over at 'Bron [LeBron James] and he looked like he was trying to call a timeout. So I stopped, and the game was over.”

When pressed on whether he knew the score of the game, Smith responded, “I knew it was tied, I just thought we were going to call a timeout because I got the rebound.”

Smith’s head coach had a different view of the play.

“He thought it was over,” Tyronn Lue said. “He thought we were up one.”

James, who had the best view of the play and a wide open look from the top of the key, didn’t know what to make of the situation. After posting 51 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in almost 48 minutes of action, he wasn’t exactly in a talkative mood after the loss.

“I knew it was a tie game,” James said. “We were down one. George Hill went up, he made the first one. We got the offensive rebound, you know, I thought we were all aware of what was going on. That’s my view. I don’t know what J.R. was thinking. I don’t know the question you are trying to ask.”

Media members pressed James for more answers, but the four-time league MVP didn’t bite.

Smith bears the brunt of the blame. As the old NBA adage goes, any shot is better than no shot. He had plenty of opportunity to pull up and shoot, pass to a teammate with a better look or even call a timeout himself.

Letting the clock wind out is completely inexcusable for a rookie, let alone a 14-year NBA veteran. It was a huge gaffe, but there are plenty of other issues to examine.

First and foremost, Hill’s miss at the line would have given the Cavs a lead with less than five seconds remaining. The Warriors would have had an opportunity to inbound the ball and go for the win, but we’ll never know how that would have turned out.

Clearly upset by the situation, Hill walked out of the locker room without speaking to the media following the game.

Secondly, the Cavs had an opportunity to actually call a timeout and run one last play. Again, we have no idea of how that might have worked out, but there were plenty of people employed by the Cavs, not named J.R. Smith, that could have halted the game while he was wandering around burning precious seconds.  

Lastly, the Cavs didn’t lose the game in the final seconds, they just didn’t win it. Golden State came out and mauled them in the overtime session, outscoring Cleveland 17-7 in the extra five minutes of play.

Either way, Game 1 was a golden opportunity for the Cavs to steal away homecourt advantage and change the entire narrative surrounding this year’s NBA Finals. Cleveland has two days to lick its wounds and prepare for another battle with the Warriors come Sunday.

Down 0-1 to the reigning champs, the Cavs can’t afford to make anymore game-altering mistakes.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 124, Cavaliers 114
Game 2 Oakland -- Sunday, June 3 at 5pm
Game 3 Cleveland -- Wednesday, June 6 at 6pm
Game 4 Cleveland -- Friday, June 8 at 6pm
Game 5 Oakland -- Monday, June 11 at 6pm
Game 6 Cleveland -- Thursday, June 14 at 6pm
Game 7 Oakland -- Sunday, June 17 at 5pm

Swaggy Champ tries to downplay 'Everybody needs to do cocaine' remark

Swaggy Champ tries to downplay 'Everybody needs to do cocaine' remark

Basking in the glow of winning his first NBA championship last week, Nick Young got himself into a bit of hot water on Tuesday night.

While coming out of a nightclub in Los Angeles, Young was approached by TMZ Sports for comments on Canada legalizing marijuana.

"I want people to pass cocaine. Everybody needs to do cocaine," Young said as he got into the passenger side of a car outside the club.

As you can imagine, that comment caused quite a stir.

More than five hours after TMZ Sports posted the video, Young went on Twitter and Instagram to try and put the fire out.

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Adam Silver talks competitive balance: 'Gotta give Golden State their due; on the other hand...'


Adam Silver talks competitive balance: 'Gotta give Golden State their due; on the other hand...'

How dare the Warriors.

They have completely ruined the NBA by...

... executing a plan and winning three of the last four championships.

It's just rude.

On Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined the Golic and Wingo show on ESPN and the topic of competitive balance was discussed.

"I get it in terms of Kevin Durant going there. It was a bit of an aberration in our system; we had a spike in our cap, it enabled them to have additional cap room," Silver explained. "The Warriors will tell you they would have figured out a way to get it done anyway. I don't know.

"But even if Kevin Durant hadn't gone to Golden State -- and let's just say he had stayed at Oklahoma City, or let's say he had gone to another team, maybe in the East -- you clearly would have had a third team (in addition to the Cavs) that would have been much better; any team that has Kevin Durant will be -- but then you still have 27 other teams.

"So, you gotta give Golden State their due. I've said repeatedly, let's also celebrate excellence. Ownership, the job Bob Myers has done as a GM, Steve Kerr, of course, one of the great coaches in our league. Steph Curry, drafted; Klay Thompson, drafted; Draymond Green drafted 35th by Golden State.

"I don't think as a league we want to go about breaking up teams just to break them up -- just to force some sort of parity that is kind of unnatural."

In July 2016, Silver said that Durant joining the Warriors  was "not ideal from a league standpoint."

After all, he represents all 30 teams. And as a collective, the league wanted to "smooth the cap" over several years to prevent one giant spike -- which did provide the Warriors the ability to sign Durant.

"I can understand doing some things different in the system that may not have allowed a player like Kevin Durant to go to a team that was already so good.

"There's always a next collective bargaining agreement and over the years we've talked about a harder cap than we have now. The NFL has a much harder cap than we do; ours is somewhat soft. Obviously, it allows teams to go significantly above the cap and the tax level and that's the case with both Golden State and Cleveland. They are significantly above where our tax level is right now.

"So we'll continue to look at it. But in the meantime, hats off to Golden State and Cleveland for that matter. They are competing within the system. I'm still at the stage of celebrating the basketball we have right now.

"But I hear people. Listen, the 28 other teams, you know, they're the biggest complainers in terms of the fact that these two teams have met four times in a row."

Here's an idea -- stop complaining and keep trying to get better.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller