What can you say? What IS there to say? After a mistake or a mental lapse or a complete meltdown, what should be said? Sometimes, saying nothing is the right thing to say. Because there is nothing that JR Smith can say to excuse his behavior. The more he tried to explain, the worse it got. I saw the game. I saw Smith’s mouth form the words, “I thought we were ahead” to LeBron. And so did millions of other people. So no matter how you slice it, it was a mistake beyond words.
Smith dribbled the ball out to half-court, clearly thinking that the Cavs had the lead. By the time he realized that the game was tied it was too late. LeBron James was furious with his Cleveland Cavaliers teammate for dribbling out the clock and clearly not knowing the score at the end of regulation.
The game went into overtime and instead of LeBron James finishing an all-time great NBA Finals performance by stealing a win on the road, the Warriors dominated the extra period to hold home court.
Yes, we’ve all made fun of JR Smith dribbling out the game with 4.7 still left on the clock in regulation. Yes LeBron was furious, and for good reason. And yes the Cavaliers could have stolen Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals from the Golden State Warriors. But noooooo — JR Smith didn’t have the awareness needed at a critical juncture and now he’ll have find a way to atone for his sin. And this is where theology comes in. Only God can truly atone, because atonement is a job for God. We just have to trust Him to do it His way.
Yes we’ve been hard on Smith. Yes it was a boneheaded play. And yes the Cavs blew a golden opportunity. Ever been there? We all have. That’s the lesson that sports teaches. Our failures don’t have to be final. Our foolhardiness does not have to define us. It only does if we let it.