J.R. Smith nearly changed the whole complexion of the NBA Finals in Game 1 on Thursday. It was early in the first half, and Smith was trying his damnedest to make an impact. Because of his ongoing shooting struggles, he was redirecting all that energy to the defensive end, so when he saw a chance to go for a steal off a lazy pass to Klay Thompson, he went for it.
It didn’t work out in his favor, and it ended up being a scary moment for Warriors fans as Thompson doubled over in pain after Smith took his legs out from under him. But despite the reaction from the crowd at Oracle, it wasn’t a dirty or reckless play. He simply slipped. His over-zealousness got the best of him. He can be forgiven for that.
But after that initial blunder, in which he failed to get the steal, committed a foul, and nearly caused a catastrophic injury to a star player, you think he would’ve reconsidered that tactic the next time around. But we’re talking about J.R. Smith here, so with time ticking down in the first half, he saw another opportunity to gamble for a steal, seized that opportunity, grossly miscalculated yet again, and in the process left Steph Curry wide open for a three-pointer to tie it at the buzzer in a game where absolutely every possession matters.