LeBron James credits his signature shoes for ending J.R. Smith's shooting slump

One of the biggest reasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ poor start to the season has been the form of J.R. Smith.

The veteran has been in a horrible shooting slump and it’s severely affected his all-around performances.

Thankfully for the Cavs, the shooting guard finally showed signs of breaking out of his struggles as he made a huge contribution to the team’s narrow 124-119 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Smith dropped 20 points on 7-of-12 field goals and 5-of-7 three-pointers in a season-high 37 minutes.

Entering the game, the 32-year-old was shooting a career-worst 23.4 percent from three-point range (11-of-47). His 5.3 points per outing were also a career-low.

His lack of confidence was obvious as he was passing up shots, which is something unusual for him. In 10 games, he’d scored over 10 points just twice, and his season best was 11.

So what was the main reason behind his best game of the campaign? LeBron James believes he indirectly had a huge role to play in helping his teammate regain his form thanks to his signature shoes.

“I told him it was the shoes,” James said, per Cleveland.com. “He finally decided to wear my shoes. After a long conversation we finally decided to wear them and he had a breakout game.”

Smith, however, wasn’t so quick to give all the credit to the footwear and explained other factors which may have helped.

“I don’t know, honestly,” Smith said. “I just thought about it when I was on my way to the arena today. I talked to my dad, I talked to my mom, pretty much like I always do on my way to the arena.

“The hell with it. I’m going to go back to my old way of playing, just shoot, shoot, shoot and see if I can get myself out of this thing.”

Whatever the reason, the Cavaliers are pleased to get this version of ‘Swish’ back and need him to be a threat on the perimeter regularly in order for them to win games.

“That was Swish,” James said. “We’re gonna need more of that from him a lot coming up. … That’s something that we’ve relied on over the last two and a half years.

“So, to have him have a breakout game tonight, especially the way we’ve been struggling at home, it was right on time.”

The Wine and Gold are currently 20th in the league for made threes per game with 10.1 after being second last year with 13. The loss of Kyrie Irving has played its part but Smith’s poor percentage hasn’t helped matters.

“When J.R. is scoring the basketball, that’s big for us,” head coach Tyronn Lue said.

In more good news for the guard, he passed Rashard Lewis for 14th on the NBA’s all-time three-point list.

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