Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

JR Smith won't be penalized for shot on Al Horford, historically bad performance punishment enough

Sara Civian
May 16, 2018 - 5:11 pm

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the NBA will not discipline JR Smith for this cheap shot on Al Horford in Game 2:

He got a flagrant-1 and a double technical for shoving the clearly airborne Horford from behind. Marcus Smart got a matching double tech for intervening in what he’d later describe as shutting down a bully.

“You just can’t allow that to keep happening. That’s not the first time JR has done some dirty stuff...He’s known for it, especially playing against us,” Smart said. “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.”

Horford and Smart fed off the moment, adding points and assists to their double figure performances.

Smith? Well, Smith added 0 points to the 0 points he already had to finish Game 2 with exactly 0 points. The starter had three rebounds and one assist, so he did narrowly avoid a triple-zero. But he played 27 minutes of basketball, attempted seven field goals (four three-pointers), and didn’t make one.

That seems historically bad because it actually was. He became the first player in NBA history to have more flagrant fouls than points in a playoff game.

“It was a good call,” Smith told reporters postgame. “I blatantly pushed him...I understand why they gave me a flag there.”

Opinions on the NBA’s decision aside, it can’t be overstated that Smith failed to score a point in Game 2. Cleveland’s starting backcourt -- Smith and George Hill -- got outscored 41-3.

We already found out LeBron James can’t do it all against the Celtics. Is expecting Smith to make a basket (or maybe even one free throw) really asking for too much, though?

He did manage four points in Game 1. Until he can at least get that four-point swagger back, his existence is kind of a self-imposed punishment for the Cavs.


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