Cavaliers, coach Lue keep their trust in JR Smith
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 02, 2018 09:39 AM
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue speaks at a news conference after Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 31, 2018. The Warriors won 124-114 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Despite a disastrous play at the end of regulation, the Cleveland Cavaliers and their head coach Tyronn Lue are keeping their trust in JR Smith.
Smith snagged the offensive rebound following a miss at the free throw line by George Hill, but instead of taking the shot or passing the ball with 4.5 seconds to go, Smith was seemingly content to watch time tick away, which sent the game into overtime.
There was then post-game confusion as Lue and Smith gave differing stories as to whether or not Smith knew the game was tied.
Speaking to media in a teleconference, Lue said that he and Smith talked last night, though he declined to share any details on the conversation. Instead, Lue gave Smith some credit for snagging the rebound in the first place, saying, "If JR Smith doesn't get the offensive rebound, they [the Warriors] might get the rebound, call timeout and win in regulation.
"Just him fighting for that rebound at the end of the game was important. Whether he knew time or score or not, getting the rebound and not getting the shot off, it was big, because they could have gotten the rebound, called time out, and like I said, won in regulation. So that's behind us. It's over. There's nothing you can do about it now. We've got to focus in on Game 2."
The Golden State Warriors went on a 9-0 run to start overtime, and take a 124-114 game one victory.
Lue added that Smith will still start Game 2, backing his mercurial shooting guard. "JR can shake off anything, and when everybody tends to count JR out, that's when he comes through. So he's definitely going to start again. He's a big part of what we do."
From a team-wide perspective, Lue said that they can't dwell on the loss. "Now we have to move on....We can't live on that because then we won't be able to perform in Game 2."
Smith finished with 10 points on a 3-of-10 shooting clip with six rebounds and two assists. Seven of his points though came in the first quarter, when he shot 2-of-3.