Last season, JR Smith was one of the key pieces of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship-winning roster.
However, the 31-year-old shooting guard has struggled mightily during this year’s playoff run after returning from injury late in the regular season, scoring in double-figures just three times in the 16 postseason games including Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
In Game 1 of the series, he played 28 minutes, but only managed to score three points on 1-of-4 shooting. He followed that performance up by going scoreless in 14 minutes in Game 2, missing both of his field goal attempts. In both of those games, he seemed to be uncharacteristically lost on the offensive end, where he has made a living on his elite ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter.
Therefore, in order for the Cavaliers to at least keep the game close in Game 3, Smith was one of the key players that needed to step up in front of the home crowd.
He showed up, scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, all of which came from three-point range. Most of all, he displayed confidence on the offensive end, as he asserted himself as a viable contributor alongside LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
But, the desperation shot he took on Twitter after the game might end up being what people remember about his Game 3 output.
Seemingly right when he got back to the locker room, Smith got on his phone and tweeted out the following, only to quickly delete it:
"Cavs in 7," he typed. Really?
The Cavaliers would have to win the next four games and would become the first NBA team to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. While Game 3 could have clearly gone Cleveland’s way, it’s a bit of a farfetched idea to look that far ahead, especially when the Cavs are on the brink of getting swept on their home court.
As you can imagine, Charles Barkley and Shaq had a great reaction to it:
It’s one thing to be confident, but Smith took that confidence to the next level with his dramatic tweet. Winning Game 4 should probably be the main focus for the outspoken shooting guard and his teammates.
Now the question becomes why he took down the tweet. Did someone tell him to? Was it LeBron? Was it Tyronn Lue? Was it the front office? Did he second-guess himself?
That answer may never be known, but reporters will likely try to get to the bottom of it the next time they can get him in front of a microphone.