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“I’m not about to just go right up on this tall-a** motherf**ker” - J.R. Smith on his infamous dribble incident in the 2018 NBA Finals, says he thought will call a timeout

LeBron James and J.R. Smith lost the 2018 NBAFinals after blowing Game 1.
LeBron James and J.R. Smith lost the 2018 NBAFinals after blowing Game 1.
Johnnie Martinez

J.R. Smith played a significant role in the Cleveland Cavaliers' four straight NBA Finals appearances. Still, his mistake in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA finals cost the team a win in a series that ended in a Golden State Warriors sweep.

Instead of trying a putback shot or passing the ball to LeBron James, Smith let time expire, leading to overtime. In overtime, the Warriors dominated Cleveland and then dominated the rest of the series.

On the "Iman Amongst Men" podcast, Smith spoke with a former Cavaliers teammate about the play:

"I had KD (Kevin Durant) right here, and I had somebody on the other side or whatever and the ball came down. So, I, as the ball bounced, I didn't think I had a chance to get the ball. Honestly. So, when I got the ball I'm like, "Oh, shit," but mind you, KD's still standing right here. So, I'm like, 'I'm not about to just go right up on this tall-a** motherf**ker.
"So, I go. I dribble it out."

While he did not face the best defender, the size would have made the shot difficult. By dribbling out of the paint, Smith allowed himself to get a better look.

The decision is somewhat logical given that Smith is a strong shooter. Still, Smith believes his teammates let him down at the end of the game, similar to how people say Smith let down James.

"Normally, in every other situation like that for us, what do they do after we get a rebound? Somebody's gonna call a time out. We got an extra possession. Nobody's gonna call a timeout? So I'm supposed to think to get the rebound, and call a timeout. So, I don't got nobody else out here. It's just me. I'm playing golf now."

With Smith corraling the offensive rebound for Cleveland, someone else could have called a timeout in that situation. A timeout may not have ended with the team getting a better shot, but Smith felt like that was the wise decision.

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J.R. Smith and LeBron James realized Cleveland should have called a timeout

Coach Tyrone Lue calling a timeout could have saved Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals for the Cavs.
Coach Tyrone Lue calling a timeout could have saved Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals for the Cavs.

Golden State's sweep in the 2018 NBA finals was dominant, but the Cavaliers almost took Game 1. The series could have gone differently if Cleveland had won the opener.

J.R. Smith knew Cleveland had a timeout to call on that last rebound, and LeBron James would realize it, too.

First, JR Smith doesn't know the score. Then, watch at the 1:38 mark when LeBron James realizes Ty Lue also could've called a timeout (but didn't). You almost have to feel bad for the guy with that level of ineptitude around him in a finals game. Almost. https://t.co/ZclC1JtRq2

If Cleveland coach Ty Lue calls timeout, the legacy of James and Smith could be different.


live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Despite the outcome, did J.R. Smith make the right decision?

Yes

No

157 votes so far

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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