Then, Smith compounded the confusion with another what-the-heck-are-you-doing moment, wearing a balaclava during his postgame interview and pretending not to recall the play:
What was Smith thinking?
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had to meet with Smith to find out.
Lue on the play, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“It was embarrassing moment,” Lue said. “Me and J.R. talked about it. We’re just going to move forward. We had a discussion about it, he felt embarrassed about it. It was an embarrassing play. We talked about it. We’re moving on.”
Lue on the interview:
“It wasn’t right,” Lue said. “I talked to him about that also. There’s no need for that. Just address the media in the right way, move on. We got our butts kicked (Tuesday) night. Give Milwaukee credit, they came out, they attacked us, they beat us. Now we’ve got to move on.”
Lue even prompted Smith to address the play:
“Obviously we both know it wasn’t intentional, but it was just a lack of focus,” Smith said after practice Wednesday. “One of the multiple things that compounded onto the loss was just as a team we haven’t been as focused as we previously were. Winning and being who we are has a lot to do with that, but we’ve just got to overcome that and be better as a whole. It starts as individuals and then we can collectively become a group and team and have that mindset.”
And the first interview:
“I said it more in a joking manner because you can see what happened,” Smith said. “Obviously, I wasn’t paying attention. For me to just sit there and tell you I wasn’t paying attention makes it plain and boring somewhat, especially when you’re asking a question you already know the answer to. But at the same time, I still have to give that boring answer, for whatever reason.”
Here’s the thing, J.R.: Reporters didn’t know the answer to the question, because nobody had seen anything like that before. Nobody had any idea how a player could wander to the opponents’ bench to greet another player during a live ball. So, the question had to be asked.
And I’m still not sure how this happened nor do I understand the joke behind Smith’s press conference. But a loss of focus can sometimes be inexplicable, and humor doesn’t always translate.
Lue’s plan to move on is probably the best option. What other choice does anyone have?