The NBA Finals will always give us consistency. LeBron James seems to always be there, the crowd noise will always be loud, and the memes will always be golden. Last week Game 1 ended with LeBron James’ frustration towards JR Smith. Can’t blame the guy when putting up a career-high 51 points and still losing in overtime. Now with the Cavaliers down 0-2 in the series, a video has surfaced to catch a glimpse of Cleveland’s bench.
A quick recap of what is shown in this video: absolutely nothing. The game was in commercial break before overtime, and the faces reveal more focus than frustration. There isn’t a viral video of what the Warriors bench looked like after JR Smith’s folly play. Rest assured it most likely wasn’t full of high fives and celebratory hugs. The game wasn’t over, and that’s what was on every player’s mind during that moment.
The crucifixion of JR Smith is a little over-embellished. Don’t be mistaken, he made a terrible decision; there’s no doubt about that. Smith claims that he thought the Cavaliers were going to call a timeout. Even if that were true, Golden State still could have forced a turnover. Hypothetically, if LeBron or JR took a game-winning shot there’s always the possibility the ball misses. If Warriors get the rebound, they still had four seconds to make a play. Simply chuck the ball to Steph Curry and let him work his magic. Nothing was guaranteed for Cleveland to win that game. The irony is how JR Smith becomes the martyr, but no one blames Hill for missing the last free throw.
The grumbles of JR Smith lingered into Game 2 of the Finals. Golden State fans used it as fuel as they mocked JR with their MVP chants at the free throw line. Nobody on the Cavaliers roster can take the blame for losing Game 2, however. It’s hard to win when Steph Curry is on the court making history with 10 three-point shots in a single NBA Finals game. Tack on the fact that it’s almost impossible to beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena. Only the Houston Rockets have been able to put that accomplishment in their resume in recent years.
Now the Cavaliers get a chance to try to dig themselves out of the hole they’re buried in. Shake off the critical backlash that has been hovering over JR Smith and allow LeBron to play some of the best basketball we’ve seen him play. Being back in front of the home crowd of Cleveland should help ease the tension that’s built around them. It might be a wise choice for the Cavaliers to avoid social media for a while. Otherwise, they’ll have to face the constant reminder of the picture which has blessed us with one of the best meme formats of the summer: