Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith expects the Boston Celtics to do whatever it takes in Game 2 to avoid falling in an 0-2 whole.
This apparently includes dirty play.
The Cavaliers smacked around the Celtics in Boston, taking a 117-104 victory with ease. After, Smith said he expects Boston to get scrappy next time out, in large part because of how they’ve played in the past. Sporting News’ Jordan Heck had the quote:
“For them to come out swinging, playing scrappy like they do,” Smith responded when asked how he expects Boston to play in Game 2. “They’ve been playing like that all year. Whenever their backs are up against the wall, they tend to play better, just like we do. So we just got to expect that and understand there might be dirty plays, might be cheap shots coming from the other side just because they are fighting for their lives at this point. So we just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Smith isn’t exactly one to talk about cheap shots and dirty plays, but alas, that sort of play was a big part of the conversation going into the series. Kelly Olynyk injured Kevin Love in 2015 and has had various instances of potential dirty plays since. Wednesday night, guys like Isaiah Thomas got into confrontations on the court.
Scrappy play or not, the underdog Celtics—despite being the higher seed—didn’t stand a chance with LeBron James going off for 38 points and Love right behind him at 32.
Though Smith’s comment is a bit odd, it does speak to the experience difference between the Cavaliers and Celtics. The former knew what to expect in Game 1—and it showed.