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Smith: Playing with LeBron is a gift and curse

Omnisport
NEWS
News
415   //    03 Jun 2018, 05:22 IST
Smith-cropped
Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith

JR Smith said playing alongside LeBron James is a gift and a curse as the Cleveland Cavaliers veteran described the pressure associated with being a team-mate of the three-time champion.

Smith has dominated headlines following his mental lapse late in Cleveland's 124-114 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors in game one of the NBA Finals.

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.

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 on Thursday.

Cavs superstar James was visibly frustrated by Smith's brain fade, while he cut short his post-game news conference amid the constant questions.

Asked about James and playing alongside the 33-year-old in his pursuit of a fourth NBA ring ahead of game two on Sunday, Smith told reporters: "It's a lot of pressure. Not for myself or my team-mates, but just playing on his team.

"It's almost -- it's a blessing and -- it's a gift and a curse. You play on his team, and you're playing with the best player in the world and you get to witness some great historic things and be a part of it. Then, on the other side, if you don't help that person win, they're looking at you too.

"So it's a lot of pressure, depending on how you look at it. But I tell him all the time he has the opportunity to play with me as well."

After his error in the Finals opener, Smith insisted he knew the game was tied after Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said the guard thought Cleveland were ahead.

However, Smith was not so sure after speaking to the media on Saturday.

"After thinking about it a lot the last 24 hours and however many minutes since the game was over, I can't say I was sure of anything at that point," Smith said.

Smith conceded he might have told James on the court that he thought the Cavs were ahead.

"I might have said that," Smith said. "I'm not sure, but I might have."

Either way, James is confidence Smith will put the incident behind him.

"J.R.'s one of the most resilient guys I've ever been around," James added. "He took that loss as hard as anybody the other night, just [as hard] as anybody on the team. But one thing about J.R., he has an uncanny ability to bounce back, and I think people have seen that throughout our postseason runs."

Omnisport
NEWS
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