Thursday, 24 May, 2018


JR Smith Shoves Al Horford Mid-Air, Marcus Smarts Retaliates

Cavaliers' Le Bron James left is defended by Boston Celtics' Al Horford in the third quarter during Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden in Boston on Sunday Video: JR Smith Shoves Al Horford Mid-Air, Marcus Smarts Retaliates
Noah Ferguson | 16 May, 2018, 20:12

After the All-Star center was sent careening to the floor, Smart quickly got in the face of Smith in defense of his teammate. By the time of Smith's transgression, the Cavs were completely on the taking end.

"[Horford's] a defenseless person, he's in the air", Smart said. They got the sort of monster game the world expected from James - 42 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists - in response to Cleveland's blowout loss in Game 1.

Smith struggled throughout with his shot, going 0 for 7 and missing all four attempts from deep. Smith once pulled a more subtle yet equally risky bump of Goran Dragic, one that left Dragic in serious pain. We know he can make shots, but just communication defensive-wise."Smith explained: "We were slow on our coverages".

They'll now head to Cleveland with a 2-0 lead and one foot already in the NBA Finals. Or, you could say, he was up there in the pecking order of the culpable. We know that. So you know, it's like a bully, you keep letting a bully keep picking on you, he's going to pick on you until you finally stand up, and that's what I tried to do. "We just didn't do that".

The Garden crowd naturally responded with a profane chant directed at Smith, but the Cavs guard said he didn't mind the jeers; in fact, he apparently enjoyed them. Offensively, they were better than Sunday but not almost enough.

After the game, Smart was asked why he took such significant exception. Take away Brown's 23 and Terry Rozier's 18 for Boston and the other Celtics were good for 66.

Even JR couldn't argue that the officials made the right call giving him a flagrant for shoving an airborne player. "I'll recalibrate", he said a couple times about his prep work for Game 3.

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