JR Smith on Infamous Finals Blunder vs. Warriors: 'It Was an Honest Mistake'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 06:  JR Smith #5 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react to a call against the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 6, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard JR Smith said dribbling out the clock after grabbing an offensive rebound in the final seconds of Game 1 during the 2018 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors was an "honest mistake."

On Tuesday, Jesse Washington of The Undefeated provided comments from Smith about the error, which led to a social media firestorm when it happened back in May.

"We all make mistakes," he said. "For my teammates to know that and have my back, [Game 1] wasn't that bad. Talked to my coaches, everybody stood behind me 100 percent. The main thing was, OK, granted, you didn't shoot the ball, but what if you ain't get the rebound? Then what? We still would have been in the same situation. I could have shot and missed. Then what?"

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

JR Smith pulled the biggest JR move at the end of Game 1 and set #NBATwitter on FIRE (➡️ @remymartinus) https://t.co/ZhWhZrZDnl

Smith added, "I've messed up so many times in my life" and noted he's less concerned about his basketball reputation and more about his family at this point in his life, per Washington.

"For so long in my life it was always basketball, basketball, basketball," he said. "… Now my mindset is be the best family man as possible. Being an athlete don't really matter to me. I mean, I want to be the best athlete I can be, but that's not what I'm focused on. I'm focused on being the best family man I can be. That's the hardest thing."

The 33-year-old New Jersey native struggled throughout the Cavs' entire playoff run. He averaged 8.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting 34.8 percent from the field across 22 appearances.

Yet, despite Smith's struggles and his blunder at the end of Game 1, it's hard to argue Cleveland had much of a chance against the star-studded Dubs. Golden State completed the sweep with an average winning margin of 15 points. The LeBron James-led Cavs were no match.

James' free-agent departure to join the Los Angeles Lakers has transformed the Cavaliers from a title contender to potential cellar dweller.

In turn, Smith told Washington he's prepared to transition into a mentor role.

"More than anything, I want to help the younger guys," he said. "More than guys helped me when I was coming up, you know? Help them with managing time. Most often, basketball will take care itself. You got talent, you got skill, that will take care of its own. But, just off the court, you know? Managing time, teaching the rights from wrongs."

Smith and the new-look Cavs kick off the preseason Oct. 2 against the Boston Celtics.


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