J.R. Smith’s explanation of his late-game blunder in Thursday night’s NBA Finals Game 1 left a lot to be desired. After running out the clock in a tie game when he should have either put up a shot or passed to a wide-open LeBron James, Smith told reporters that he had not forgotten the score, as it appeared, but had instead assumed his team would call a timeout and had run the ball out to the perimeter for… reasons. It didn’t make much sense.
Well on Saturday, Smith backtracked on that explanation, offering a more honest (if similarly unsatisfying) one.
“After thinking about it a lot over the last 24 hours,” he said, “I can’t say I was sure of anything at that point.”
JR Smith on whether or not he knew the score at the end of regulation:
“After thinking about a lot the last 24 hours…I can’t say I was sure of anything at that point” pic.twitter.com/FJovbweZFz
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 2, 2018
Yeah, that sounds about right.
There have been all kinds of theories about what J.R. was doing at the end of regulation Thursday. Some people have wondered if he remembered the score but was confused about how much time remained. ESPN’s Dan Le Batard has suggested he was trying to shoot on the wrong hoop. But ultimately, the most sensible explanation was the one we all reached for, and the one J.R. himself seemed to tell LeBron James after it happened. The dude forgot the score.
Credit to J.R. for ultimately addressing this with some honesty. It doesn’t make up for one of the most boneheaded plays in NBA history, but it’s something.