Photo Courtesy: USA Today

J.R. Smith Pulled Off the Ultimate Choke Job

June 01, 2018 - 9:54 am

By Joe Schiller

Just one free throw away from victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers choked it away. George Hill was sent to the free throw line down 107-106 with just 4.7 seconds left and made his first to tie up the score.

What happened next was complete chaos.

Hill missed his second free throw but J.R. Smith came down with the offensive rebound. But whether it was the sheer heat of the moment or whatever what was going on in his head, Smith dribbled away from the basket and the Cavaliers failed to get a shot up before the buzzer.

Despite an all-time 51-point performance from LeBron James, the Cavaliers fell to the Warriors 124-114 in overtime.

Smith even clearly mouthed the words to James, “I thought we were ahead.” While he denied those claims during his postgame interview, Smith’s blunder cost the Cavaliers this game. The man who loves hoisting up shots from anywhere on the floor, even with multiple defenders in his face, didn’t shoot when it mattered most.

Hill deserves as much of the blame for missing the game-winning free throw, but even he gets off the hook thanks to Smith. Instead of stealing a game on the road, the Cavaliers find themselves down 1-0 in the most unfortunate of circumstances.

As far as LeBron may be able to take this team, his teammates will be the epitome of the Cavaliers’ downfall.