Two days later Authentic Josh Allen Jersey , there is still no clarity on what J.R. Smith knew when he grabbed that offensive rebound in the final seconds of regulation of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Not even in Smith’s own mind.
”I can’t say I was sure of anything at that point,” Smith said.
All he and the Cleveland Cavaliers are sure of now is this: They’re down 1-0 to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, with Game 2 on Sunday night and Smith knowing that he’s going to be booed, made fun of, mocked and probably worse by the crowd at Oracle Arena.
Smith became one of the big Game 1 stories for all the wrong reasons . He grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed free throw in the final seconds of regulation with the game tied, then ran toward midcourt as if he was running out the clock and thinking Cleveland had a one-point lead. The Cavaliers wound up losing in overtime.
”He probably took that loss as hard as anybody on the team,” Cavs star LeBron James said Saturday. ”But one thing about J.R., he has an uncanny ability to bounce back. I think people have seen that throughout our postseason runs, where he hasn’t played well or played to his ability that he thinks he should have played, and then the next game he comes on and shoots the ball extremely well.”
That bounce-back tendency for Smith will be tested now like perhaps never before. This wasn’t just a gaffe. This was a huge gaffe, in the final seconds of the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals with the game on the line. And in the immediate aftermath Logan Cooke Color Rush Jersey , it appeared Smith said to James on the court that he thought the Cavs were leading – something he denied afterward.
”I might have said that,” Smith said. ”Not sure, but I might have.”
To say Smith was the reason Cleveland lost Thursday night isn’t right, or fair. There’s no guarantee that Cleveland would have scored to win the game in those final seconds if Smith had done anything differently.
Still, he was blamed.
”I’m glad it happened to me as opposed to anybody else on my team,” Smith said. ”To be in that situation is tough and it’s not a situation everybody can handle, so I’m glad it happened to me.”
Smith spent Friday in his hotel room for the most part, watching the Memorial (”Tiger played really well,” Smith said), talking with Kyle Korver and visiting with his kids over FaceTime.
He knows he’s a punch line. He’s been there before.
”That’s pretty much who I’ve been my whole life,” said Smith Johnny Townsend Color Rush Jersey , who bonded with a therapy dog earlier this season during a rough stretch. ”I’ve always been the one guy who’s the butt of the jokes, or that one guy who does something crazy and everybody’s got to look at or whatever the case may be. And then I come back and be myself and play the next day. I don’t really dwell on things too much. It’s been like that my whole life. That’s what it looks like it’s going to continue to be.”
The Cavs have made clear that they’re not quitting on Smith.
They need him.
”He’s going to start. And no, I haven’t lost confidence,” coach Tyronn Lue said. ”J.R. can shake off anything, and when everybody tends to count J.R. out, that’s when he comes through. So he’s definitely going to start again. He’s a big part of what we do. That last play is over, it’s behind us and now we’ve got to move on.”
A bounce-back game would be more than welcomed by Cleveland. When Smith is good, the Cavs are really good.
Cleveland is 10-1 this season, including playoffs, when Smith scores more than 15 points. The Cavaliers are 19-5 when he makes more than half his shot attempts. They’re 20-9 when he makes at least three 3-pointers. Those are some of the many reasons why Lue still has confidence in him, and Smith clearly appreciates that.
”I’ve been playing like dogcrap all year and he’s stuck with me Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey ,” Smith said. ”So he’s one of the people who gives me the most confidence.”
And he’s due, too.
Smith has missed more than half his shots in eight straight games – his longest such cold streak since November. The Warriors expect that Smith and the rest of the Cavaliers will be more than ready for Game 2. And Smith said his teammates still believing in him is helping.
”Everybody says it’s not just the one play or the reason why we lost,” Smith said. ”Take it however you want it. My teammates have been great. Very supportive.”
When the Golden State Warriors lost Game 5 of the Western Conference finals to the Rockets on Thursday night to send them to the brink of elimination they vowed to be back in Houston for Game 7.
After a resounding win in Game 6 that’s exactly where the defending champions are, preparing for a winner-take-all game Monday night for a spot in the NBA Finals.
”It’s going to be fun,” Stephen Curry said. ”It’s what you play for, to be in a situation where you’re one win away from going to the finals. Pressure both ways because of how big the moment is, and you’ve got to want it.”
The Warriors trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half Saturday night before using a splendid second half to roll to a 115-86 victory. Curry knows that if the Warriors hope to return to the finals for the fourth straight year they’ll have to get off to a better start in Game 7.
”I guarantee if we start the game out like we did (Saturday) and they jump out to the lead, it’s going to be 10 times harder to make it a game,” Curry said. ”So for us that’s our challenge to have the same mentality we had for the last 36 minutes of (Game 6) and bring that from the jump in Game 7.”
Kevin Durant is excited about helping the Warriors return to the finals, but he got a little confused on when Game 7 was on Saturday night.
”I can’t wait `til Tuesday,” Durant said.
Curry quickly jumped in to correct his teammate.
”Monday Mason Rudolph Color Rush Jersey ,” he said. ”Please don’t miss a game.”
The Rockets aren’t dwelling on their missed opportunity to close out the series as they get ready for Monday’s game where they’ll try to punch their ticket to finals for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1995-95.
They might have to do it without star Chris Paul, who is dealing with a strained right hamstring that kept him out of Game 6. Coach Mike D’Antoni said Sunday that he’s continuing to receive treatment and his status for Game 7 will likely be a game-time decision.
James Harden, who had 22 points in the first half on Saturday night but just 10 the rest of the way, insists that the Rockets remain confident despite the blowout loss and are up to Monday’s challenge.
”There’s no pressure. It’s an opportunity, an opportunity that we all are excited to be a part of,” he said. ”Game 7 at our house, that’s what we’ve worked the entire regular season for (is) to get home-court advantage. So we’re going to come out and be ready.”
The Rockets tied the Raptors for best home record in the NBA during the regular season by going 34-7. They’re 7-2 in Houston this postseason with one of their losses coming in Game 1 of this series.
After 10,000 people paid $10 each to watch Saturday night’s game at the Toyota Center in what was a fundraiser for victims of the Santa Fe school shooting, Harden has no doubt that the home fans will be ready to help them out in Game 7.
”They’re going to bring it,” he said. ”We’ve got a whole city behind us, and they’re as loyal as they come.”
Golden State coach Steve Kerr is trying to figure out why his team has struggled to put together complete games in this series http://www.broncosauthorizedshops.com/authentic-courtland-sutton-jersey , but is proud that the Warriors have found ways to win despite their up and down play.
”Our guys have a ton of character and a ton of competitiveness, desire,” he said. ”They’re champions. So our guys compete. That’s the main thing. They may not always focus, but they compete.”
The Warriors are also dealing with injuries as Kerr said Andre Iguodala, who has missed the last two games with a bruised left leg, is doubtful for Monday’s game.
Kevon Looney has filled in for him the last two games but is also listed as questionable for Game 7 with sore toe on his left foot. However Kerr said Looney is fine and will play in Game 7.