Keep That J.R. Smith Slander Far Away From LeBron James

    LeBron James could have blasted JR Smith for his knucklehead play at the end of regulation in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, but he took the high road. A reporter tried to push and prod LeBron to throw the unproductive Smith under the bus for not knowing the score of the game. LeBron refused, choosing to politely drop the mic on em and end the conversation. 

    SportsCenter on Twitter

    LeBron’s postgame news conference came to an abrupt end. https://t.co/81hrfnbK45

    It was truly an egregious mistake, especially for a guy who hasnt been lit on the court in a minute. At least know the damn score and the situation! Most superstars would have put Smith’s feet to the coals. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    JR Smith at the end of the game when he realized they didn’t have the lead #NBAFinals

    Bron wasn’t interested in discussing it with the media hounds. Smith told reporters he thought the Cavs were going to call timeout after he corralled an offensive rebound with less than five seconds remaining in regulation in their eventual 124-114 overtime loss on Thursday. 

    That’s why Smith said, he did not take a potentially game-winning shot with the score tied.

    It wasn’t a case of him believing the Cavs were ahead and trying to run out the clock for the win, Smith added.

    “It was a tie ballgame and we had a timeout,” Smith said. “I tried to get enough space because, obviously, KD [Kevin Durant] was standing right there. I tried to get enough space to bring it out to maybe get a shot off. And then I looked over at Bron, and he looked like he was trying to call a timeout. So I stopped. And then the game was over.”

    Smith was immediately ripped by Stephen A. Smith following Game 1 at the Oracle. 

    SportsCenter on Twitter

    @stephenasmith WENT IN on JR Smith. https://t.co/KlZBZUQBhz

    Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green summed up Smith’s brain fart perfectly: Thats part of the game, Green said at the presser. Being locked in…You got to know the score.

    JRs also been getting lambasted on Twitter, sports radio shows and morning sports shows. The social media onslaught began during the game and continued after Cleveland lost in overtime. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    Live look at LeBron waiting for JR Smith after the game https://t.co/55Li7iXCtl

    CBS Sports on Twitter

    when you drop 50 in a Finals game that will forever be known as that time JR Smith forgot the score

    Milmore on Twitter

    https://t.co/2GHpWZiioY

    Jimmy Traina on Twitter

    Instant replay of JR Smith and LeBron in the closing seconds of regulation. https://t.co/8qYCv7mBQf

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    JR Smith, oh no baby what is you doing?” – Everyone #NBAFinals https://t.co/UY6g3c3t52

    LeBron, being the sagacious teacher that he is, knows that Cleveland has six more games and anything is possible. Theres no reason to pile on the situation and add more negativity.  

    LeBron is as upset as anyone about JR Smiths costly and bizarre playoff moment, but JR wiggin’ out in the playoffs is nothing new. LeBron also knows that blasting JR publicly would be the complete opposite of calling the dogs off and hes going to need Smith to redeem himself and use that mishap as motivation if Cleveland wants to have any chance of winning the series. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.