By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
If you missed Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, you missed an instant classic of a game. The Warriors ultimately prevailed 124-114 in overtime after the Cavs gave them a hell of a push in regulation.
You also missed J.R. Smith making perhaps the dumbest mistake you’ll ever see in a sporting event.
The stupidity is amplified because of the situation. It’s the final play of regulation in an NBA Finals game. You have the ball – and the game – in your hands. And with an opportunity to deliver the most heroic moment of your career, you do the inexplicable.
Here’s how it went down: with just 4.7 seconds left, George Hill made his first free throw to tie the game at 107-107. Unfortunately for him and the Cavs, he missed the second one – by the way, make your damn free throws! – but Hill can thank J.R. Smith for taking all the heat off of him, because the latter grabbed the rebound with a chance to lay it in for a go-ahead bucket, or at least draw another late foul.
Instead, he dribbled the ball out beyond the three-point line, as if the Cavs had the lead and he wanted to run out the clock. So the game went to OT, and the dejected Cavs got run over from there. Without further ado, the dumbest mistake in NBA Finals history:
Now, the question is where J.R. Smith’s incredible blunder ranks among the dumbest things you’ve ever seen in sports history.
Chris Webber? His timeout-that-wasn’t took place in the NCAA Championship game, but at the same time it’s college basketball. Can’t really compare that to a professional who’s been in the NBA for 14 seasons.
Pete Carroll? Also in crunch time of a playoff game, but still a play that could’ve been made and a better defensive play by Malcolm Butler. J.R. Smith had no one forcing him to do what he did.
The Colts fake punt? That was certainly quite bad, but it was also a regular season game. This was the NBA Finals.
Bill Buckner? … Well, that one might be worse. But it was still an honest mistake. Not a deliberate choice.
There have to be others to compare to J.R. Smith. But you also have to think that it’ll be hard for anyone to top what he just did. Still, feel free to email or tweet me any suggestions I missed.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.