J.R. Smith Says Taking Open Shots is ‘Kind of Boring’

by May 21, 2015

Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith went nuts Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, hitting a franchise Playoff record eight three-pointers.

According to Smith, taking contested shots keeps him engaged and keeps out the boredom.

Smith’s teammate LeBron James needed 26 shot attempts to reach his game-high 31 points, and King James scolded himself for playing too much isolation basketball in the 97-89 win over the Atlanta Hawks.


The Cleveland Cavaliers captured Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals 97-89 over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. James racked up 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists, in the process passing Michael Jordan for first on the all-time playoff list for games with 30 or more points, five or more rebounds and five or more assists. James also halted the biggest slump of his otherwise sterling career by winning Game 1 on the road, something he hadn’t done in eight previous attempts.


Yet there was a degree of dissatisfaction for James because of the way he executed on offense late in the game. His isolation-based possessions contributed greatly to the Cavs’ 18-point fourth-quarter lead being cut down to four and making that aforementioned dunk necessary for Cleveland to stave off the Hawks’ comeback attempt. […] “We can’t worry about how many points we’re up or how many points we’re down; we have to continue to play our game. It starts with me. I take all the responsibility for it,” James said. “In the fourth quarter, I played way too much isolation basketball, one-on-one basketball [with] a lot of the defenses set, and I was letting the clock run down way too much. I just had to take the shot or I was giving it to my guys late in the shot clock and they couldn’t do nothing with it besides shoot it or turn the ball over.”


James’ 18 isolation possessions in Game 1 were the most by any player during the 2015 playoffs, according to SportVu. While he had some success with it, shooting 8-for-17 on those possessions, it clearly took the rest of the Cavs out of any sort of flow. There were three separate stretches in Game 1 when James chose to go iso for at least three Cavs possessions in a row. […] “It’s tough sometimes with our main ball handler not being on the floor, and that’s Kyrie (Irving),” James said. “That’s something that I’m not happy with, something I’m not really comfortable with doing. I can do it, but I don’t like to play that much isolation basketball late in the game. I’d much rather get the ball moving from side to side and get a good look after that.”