J.R. Smith did perhaps the most J.R. Smith thing of his career Tuesday night, exiting the floor in the middle of a game against Milwaukee to share a hug and a handshake with Jason Terry, who was on the Bucks’ bench. Smith’s mental blunder gave Tony Snell a wide open dunk, as Milwaukee beat Cleveland, 118-101.
Brandon Tierney believes that Smith should be suspended for a game.
“I don’t know that I would go that far, but he’s got to be reprimanded in some respects,” Turner Sports and NBA TV analyst Greg Anthony said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I’m not going to make as big a deal out of it because the way it works – and I know J.R.’s had issues in the past that brought into question his standing as a player – but when you look at it from the standpoint of what’s been the case for the Cavs with J.R. Smith, he’s been a great citizen and obviously a great player for them. I would equate it to a first offense. Even with a first offense when you talk about fines, I would probably have a fine, but I’m not going to the level of suspension.”
As Anthony explained, he would want to punish Smith, but not the Cavs.
“I want to punish the individual, but do I want to punish the individual and potentially punish the team? That’s why I said the fine,” Anthony said. “If you take a substantial amount of money out of somebody’s pocket, that’s significant and it sends a message that that kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated. Having said that, though, you got to judge him based on being a Cav. To your point, if I haven’t done anything wrong and I’ve been there three years now, however long it’s been, I haven’t had any issues whatsoever. I’m then not going to look at all the issues you had when you played for Denver or New York. I’m going to base it on your experience in our organization. If that’s his first major offense, I don’t know if that would warrant a suspension. Now it was bone-headed. It was stupid. But I don’t think I’m going to go to the point where I’m going to suspend him and potentially hurt my team because of it.”
Anthony also weighed in on the Clippers (14-5), who started the year 14-2 but have lost three straight games to Detroit, Indiana and Brooklyn – the first two by double digits and the third one in double overtime.
What is going on with L.A.?
“I think we’re going to know more in that game on Thursday,” Anthony said, referring to a road game against the Cavs. “They’ve lost the opportunity to get a little leeway from Doc Rivers. You’ve done some things, you’re playing really well, a coach is going to be willing (to make concessions). Hey, it’s Thanksgiving, we’re going to spend the extra day (in Dallas watching the Cowboys). I get that. But they didn’t handle the success well, having lost those three in a row. Bigger picture, it’s not as big of a deal, but how they handle it is. You’re going against the defending world champs, who are also going to be coming off a disappointing loss and it’s a nationally televised game. You’re going to get their best, you would assume, and you want to see – if you’re Doc Rivers – how this group responds. That game, not even a matter of you winning it, but how you play in it, is going to be telling for me and a lot of people moving forward because this is a team that has been somewhat fractured mentally. They haven’t always dealt well with adversity. Blake Griffin is in a contract year. Chris Paul is in a contract year. This is a big moment. Generally this early in a season, I don’t call them big games, but they are barometer games, especially to your point when you’ve lost three in a row and lost three games that you were probably favored to win.”
Catch a blockbuster NBA on TNT doubleheader Thursday with the Cavs hosting the Clippers followed by Warriors-Rockets, coverage starts at 8pm ET