I knew the game was tied - JR Smith contradicts Cavs coach following gaffe
Cleveland Cavaliers veteran JR Smith said he knew the NBA Finals opener was tied despite head coach Tyronn Lue claiming otherwise after his bizarre late-game gaffe in the loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Smith was the centre of social media backlash and jokes after his mistake during the final stages of regulation contributed to Cleveland's 124-114 game-one defeat to Golden State in overtime Thursday.
With the score tied 107-107 with 4.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, George Hill missed his second free throw but Smith grabbed the offensive rebound - and seemingly unaware of the scoreboard - he ran the ball out past the three-point line and attempted to run out the clock.
LeBron James, who finished with 51 points, and his Cavs team-mates urged Smith to turn around and attack the basket however it was too late as time expired.
The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 17-7 in OT and afterwards Lue told reporters: "He [Smith] thought it was over. He thought we were up one."
LeBron James posts a historic stat line of 51 PTS, 8 REB, 8 AST for the @cavs in Game 1 of the #NBAFinals— NBA (@NBA) June 1, 2018
Since 1970, only LeBron & Michael Jordan have scored more than 50+ points in a Finals game.#WhateverItTakes pic.twitter.com/6DBC04JMWb
However, Smith contradicted Lue's comments as the Cavs guard insisted he knew the game was tied at Oracle Arena.
"It was a tied ball game and we had a timeout so I was trying to get enough space to bring it out to maybe get a shot out," Smith said. "I looked at LeBron and it looked like he was trying to get a timeout so I just stopped. Then the game was over.
"I knew we were tied I just thought we were going to call timeout after the rebound.
"If I thought we were ahead, I would've held on the ball and let them foul me. Clearly that wasn't the case."
"I saw Kevin Durant standing next to me. He already had four blocks so I wasn't about to be the fifth," he added.