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Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has a knack for putting himself at the center of some unbelievable highlights. Sometimes, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Smith found himself in that exact situation at the end of regulation in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. It resulted in a highlight that could end up haunting him for a long time.
After an action-packed final minute of the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers had a chance to pull out a win in Game 1 of the finals over the Golden State Warriors.
With Cleveland trailing by one, Klay Thompson fouled George Hill with 4.7 seconds on the clock. Hill nailed his first free throw, tying the game at 107. His next free throw came up a little short.
For a brief second, it looked like Hill’s miss wouldn’t matter. Smith grabbed the rebound just feet away from the basket and … started dribbling the ball in the opposite direction.
Uh … what?
Most viewers assumed Smith thought the Cavaliers were ahead, and dribbled away from the basket to avoid the Warriors fouling him so he could run out the clock.
It looked like Smith eventually took notice of the clock, but passed the ball too late. The clock hit zero, and the game went into overtime.
After the game, Cavs coach Ty Lue claimed Smith believed the Cavaliers had the lead when he grabbed the rebound.
But Smith said he DID know they were tied. Color us confused:
Did it wind up hurting the Cavs?
Smith’s mistake hurt the Cavaliers immensely. The Warriors came out firing in overtime, eventually winning the contest 124-114.
How did LeBron react?
He didn’t seem happy in the moment. Cameras caught James looking at Smith and throwing his hands up in the direction of the basket as if to say, “What are you doing?”
After the game, LeBron was pressed on whether he thought Smith knew the game was tied and did not enjoy the reporter’s inability to drop it:
How did other players around the league react?
With confusion and with jokes, mostly.
Yeah, it might be a while before Smith is able to live this one down.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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