J.R. Smith says he knew game was tied

LeBron James #23 and JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react as time expries in regulation against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 31, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif.– J.R. Smith explained what happened in the last few seconds of regulation during Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Cavs shooting guard had the ball as the clock ticked down, leaving LeBron James visibly stunned when he didn’t take a shot. Cleveland ended up losing to Golden State in overtime, 124-114.

Here’s what Smith told reporters after the game:

“George (Hill) shot the free throw. I got the rebound. Tie ballgame and we had a timeout. I tried to get enough space because Kevin (Durant) was standing right there. I tried to bring it out and get enough space to maybe get a shot off. I looked over at LeBron (James) and he looked like he was trying to get a timeout. So I stopped, and the game was over.”

“No, I knew it was tied. I thought we were going to take a timeout because I got the rebound. I’m pretty sure everybody didn’t think I was going to shoot it over KD right there.”

When asked about the replay, where it appeared Smith said to LeBron, “I thought we were ahead,” he denied it.

“If I thought we were ahead, I would have just held on to the ball and let them foul me,” Smith said.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he believed J.R. thought the Cavaliers were going to win.

“He thought it was over,” Lue said. “He thought we were up 1.”

While at the podium Thursday night, James was also asked about the last play of regulation. He became irritated at one reporter’s repeated questioning and left the media room abruptly.

“No, they asked me if I talked to J.R. about it. I said no already. I knew it was a tie game. We were down 1. George Hill went up, he made the first one. We got the offensive rebound, you know, I thought we were all aware of what was going on. That’s my view. So I don’t know what JR was thinking,” LeBron said.

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