When we learned shortly before tipoff of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ nationally televised game against the Philadelphia 76ers that shooting guard J.R. Smith had been suspended for one game for “conduct detrimental to the team,” our basketball-loving minds raced as we wondered what, exactly, J.R. did to get a one-game rip. I can safely say that at no point in my imaginings did I land on the truth of the matter, as reported Friday morning by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin: Smith’s detrimental conduct was, in fact, throwing a bowl of soup at Cavaliers assistant coach Damon Jones.
No, for real:
Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith earned his one-game suspension from the team Thursday by throwing a bowl of soup at assistant coach Damon Jones, multiple sources with knowledge of the incident told ESPN
Jones, a former Cavs player, has been back with Cleveland since 2014 and worked his way up from an assistant coach with the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ G League affiliate, to the Cavs where he is a trusted voice for head coach Tyronn Lue.
And here I thought J.R. would never rack up another punishment that would, for sheer lunacy, rival the one that came attached to his inability to stop untying dudes’ shoes. The lesson: Never bet against Earl Smith Jr.
My friends … I have some questions.
What kind of soup was it? What sort of throwing motion did J.R. use? What the hell did Damon Jones do or say on the front end of this viscous exchange?
Did Smith determine that Jones deserved a piping hot bowl of minestrone justice for violating some hoary unwritten rule of the cafeteria, thus planting a seed in Jordan Clarkson’s mind that there are just some lines you don’t cross and that there’s hell to pay if you do? Is there a way, once cooler heads prevail, for J.R. to flip this into an endorsement deal? I mean, considering the stranglehold that Campbell’s has on the U.S. condensed wet soup market, maybe an outsider soup brand looking to shake up the space would be a natural fit for AN NBA PLAYER WHO GOT SUSPENDED FOR THROWING SOUP AT A DUDE.
Whether simply liquid or hella chunky, soup frankly cannot be a straight-line projectile. Did anyone else get caught in the crossfire here? Oh, no: did Cedi Osman get souped? Please say he did not. If it’s only one game, you have to imagine that no serious injuries were sustained; does this mean that we’re talking about a cold soup, here? A borscht? A dashi? Perhaps a gazpacho?
How loudly, and how frequently, did LeBron James say “SHEESH” in the immediate aftermath of these events? Does Lue feel comfortable in his choice to suspend Smith for the amount of time he did, or DOES HE WISH HE HAD A MULLIGATAWNY ON THAT DECISION OK I’M DONE
This one-game suspension cost Smith $94,897. That’s one expensive freaking bowl of soup. Not as much as it costs in Little Italy, but still: pretty rich! (Ooh: maybe it was a rich, cream-based soup. A crab bisque, maybe?)
The good news for Smith, here — on top of Damon Jones not being scalded, I mean — is that he did not get Wally Pipp’d on Thursday. After replacement starter Rodney Hood scored 11 points on 14 shots, and the Cavs never led in a loss to the visiting Sixers, Smith is expected to “resume his starting shooting guard spot Saturday when the Cavs host the Denver Nuggets,” according to ESPN.
The bad news? It sounds like J.R. was more accurate with a tureen of chicken noodle than he’s been with a Spalding this year, which is costly and hurtful. Well, it probably doesn’t hurt as much as getting hit by a bowl of soup, but still: not great.
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