JR Smith left everyone at a loss for words with his blunder at the end of regulation in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals versus the Golden State Warriors, a 124-114 overtime loss for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As it turns out, even he has a hard time fathoming what transpired.
After initially claiming Thursday night that he knew the game was tied, Smith admitted Saturday he's not quite sure what his thought process was:
With the score tied 107-107 and 4.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Cavaliers point guard George Hill was at the line with a chance to give his team the lead (and possibly the game). However, he wound up missing the free throw, with Smith grabbing the rebound.
Then, one of the most bizarre plays in NBA history unfolded.
Cameras appeared to catch Smith telling LeBron James right after that he thought the Cavs were winning. They were not, thus leading to overtime.
Golden State outscored Cleveland, 17-7, in the extra session, grabbing the first game of the series in the process. And while Hill was the one who missed the go-ahead free throw, it was Smith who faced the most scrutiny in the aftermath of the heartbreaking loss.
After the game, the 32-year-old shooting guard attempted to explain his way out of the mess:
That didn't quite match the footage of his on-court encounter with James. Now, Smith has at least owned up to perhaps not knowing the situation.
James revealed Saturday that Smith took the Game 1 loss "as hard as anybody." However, the four-time NBA MVP knows his veteran teammate can bounce back:
There's no guarantee the Cavaliers would have won even if they had gotten a shot up. But if they go on to lose the series, all of Cleveland will be left wondering, "What if?"
Game 2 tips off at Oracle Arena on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.