It’s one of the greatest games in LeBron‘s career. It is definitely the greatest performance in a Finals loss. On May 31st, 2018, Lebron posted a 51/8/8, shooting 59.4 % from the field, 42.9% from the three, and 90.9% from the free-throw line. When you drop 51 points in a 50/40/90 game, a cataclysmic, one in a million event is the only way you don’t win that game.
This will go down as one of the dumbest losses in NBA history. Not knowing what the score is while having ample time to check because free throws are being shot is something else. LeBron was the one who insisted the Cavs bring J.R. in, guaranteed he would keep him on his best behavior, and most of the time, Smith was OK. (Well, there was the soup thing.) J.R. drained many big shots for the Cavs in his time there, but this will always be the first thing that comes to mind.
Thanks to another annoying NBA practice, we have unseen and uncut footage of the moments following this historic blunder. Of course, I’m referring to the absurdly long timeouts, particularly at the end of NBA games. According to current rules, the longest timeout a coach can call is 75 seconds. LOL. The worst part is when LeBron asks Ty Lue if they had any timeouts left, and the magnitude of the mistake sinks in.
If Hill drained the second shot, the Cavs would’ve had the lead. And we have to give credit to J.R. for making the rebound in the first place. But the mistake is so consistent with the J.R. Smith brand and experience; it’s the only thing you can think of.
By the way, during the live broadcast, Jeff Van Gundy pointed out Steve Kerr was telling all his players they are calling a time out whether Hill makes or misses the free throw. The Cavs bench didn’t have that much composure, and that’s what killed LeBron’s spirit. Not only did Smith make a tragic mistake, but the entire bench failed to take a timeout.
LeBron was obviously cool with J.R. joining the Lakers this year and winning another ring with him, but if I were J.R., I wouldn’t mention this play for a few more decades.