Game 1 of the NBA Finals provided a ton of talking points, from LeBron James’s brilliant performance to a questionable reversal of a charge he drew on Kevin Durant, not to mention late-game testiness between James and Stephen Curry, as well as between Tristan Thompson and Draymond Green.
However, every discussion of the Warriors’ 124-114 overtime win Thursday over the Cavaliers will have to include J.R. Smith’s stunning gaffe at the end of regulation. With just seconds left, Cleveland’s mercurial swingman grabbed a key offensive rebound but dribbled away from the basket and threw a pass as time expired, apparently unaware that the score was tied, as opposed to the Cavs having the lead.
The brain cramp would ultimately go a long way toward Cleveland losing the game in overtime, and James immediately displayed utter exasperation toward Smith. Meanwhile, a host of NBA players watching from afar expressed their own incredulity, sharing on social media reactions that ranged from shocked to, well, showing why the face-palm emoji was created.
Indeed, replays appeared to show Smith, known for not always being the most focused player, saying, “I thought we were up.” Meanwhile, the reaction by James, whose 51-point outing went for naught, instantly became a meme in its own right.
Some players quickly nominated Smith for the next episode of “Shaqtin’ a Fool,” a roundup of blunders by NBA players hosted by TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal. Past “Shaqtin’” appearances by Smith have included him taking a moment to greet Milwaukee’s Jason Terry at the Bucks bench, while the man he was supposed to guard, Tony Snell, waltzed unopposed to the basket for an all-too-easy dunk.
Naturally, as shown above, NBA players were not the only ones reacting to Smith’s moment of confusion. As the Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson wryly noted, it was a lock to generate all sorts of online merriment.
Hey, at least this time, Smith didn’t throw a bowl of soup at anyone.
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