One thing’s for sure, last night’s Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals was the most J.R. Smith game of J.R. Smith’s career. Ask him to be anything other than J.R. Smith and he can’t do it! With the game tied at 107, Smith was in perfect position to grab George Hill’s rebound, then inexplicably took the ball out to the top of the key as the final seconds ticked away. But upon closer inspection, can J.R. Smith truly be blamed? First, let’s check the tape.
In his own words: JR Smith on the final play of regulation. pic.twitter.com/UTmzwH5yo5
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 1, 2018
But forge the tape. Forget what J.R. Smith said after the game which directly countered him telling LeBron James “I thought we were ahead” seconds after regulation ended. It’s what the tape doesn’t show that holds the key to Smith’s defense. In that split second that Smith looked up after securing the rebound, the scoreboard was changed at Oracle Arena, showing this:
Now, sure, the Cavs were playing the Warriors and not the “knights,” but they were the away team, so you can understand the confusion. Besides, noting the error, scoreboard officials quickly tried to correct the error with this:
Now this would be confusing to anyone, even to Filipino day traders, who, arguably, would be more familiar with the Philippine Stock Exchange than J.R. Smith.
In another split-second attempt at correcting the error, the scoreboard was changed to this:
Undoubtedly, a kiss between comedy legends Jonah HIll and Russel Brand would confuse anyone, not just marijuana advocate J.R. Smith.
So, while many will take the next few days to excoriate Smith’s decision-making, we say: check the evidence. As for the Oracle Arena scoreboard officials, we’re still waiting for an apology.