I know how the joke goes… the Cavaliers are being punished because JR Smith has to play for them in Game 3. It’s a joke with plenty of truth behind it. JR Smith has been trash against the Celtics and, from a strategic standpoint, not giving Tyronn Lue the option of putting in a more youthful Cedi Osman or, really, anyone else is probably beneficial to the Celtics.
I think this is bigger than a strategic advantage or funny joke. This is one of the most dangerous plays in basketball. Pushing a defenseless player in the back like this is one of the easiest ways to hurt a player. Al Horford got very lucky here.
Look at how awkwardly he fell. Look at how far he went. And that’s all just from a small push in the back. When your momentum is going up and forward, it doesn’t take much to push you a long way.
I’m a proponent of hard playoff fouls. I like the physicality of making someone “earn” free throws. I’m old school like that.
This, though, is dirty. It’s stupid, dirty play from a stupid player with a history of being dirty when he’s frustrated. In the interest of protecting players in the future, JR Smith should have been hit hard with a suspension and fine.
I’ll repeat, I think it’s better for Boston that Smith plays. I think it’s embarrassing for the league that they let this go.