Playing alongside LeBron James has its pros and cons, and Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith is the first to admit it.
Smith and James have been teammates since 2015 and won a championship together in 2016. That doesn’t mean the road has been a smooth one for the former Sixth Man of the Year as a Cavalier. His controversial action in the final seconds of Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals had everyone scratching their head, and Smith was the first one to admit playing with James isn’t easy.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Smith said of being on James’ team. “Not for myself or my teammates, but just playing on his team. It’s almost… it’s a blessing and — it’s a gift and a curse. You play on his team, and you’re playing with the best player in the world and you get to witness some great historic things and be a part of it.
“Then, on the other side, if you don’t help that person win, they’re looking at you, too. So it’s a lot of pressure, depending on how you look at it.”
But Smith also has his own way of looking at it.
“I tell him all the time he has the opportunity to play with me as well,” Smith said.
Other than the incident after George Hill missed the potential go-ahead free-throw in the final seconds of Game 1, Smith didn’t have a great game, to begin with. 10 points on 3-of-10 field goals didn’t help the cause for Cleveland.
Smith’s action to dribble out the clock ultimately took the air out of Cleveland’s sails as Golden State pulled ahead in overtime and closed out Game 1, 124-114.
JR Smith, on playing with LeBron James: “It’s a lot of pressure…but I tell him all the time he has the opportunity to play with me as well.” pic.twitter.com/pPbWf4MI9n
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 3, 2018
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