MILWAUKEE – Following a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday in a game in which J.R. Smith allowed a wide-open dunk because he was busy greeting a Bucks player on the sidelines while the ball was in play, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard pleaded ignorance when asked about the mistake.
“I wasn’t even paying attention,” Smith said of his hug with Jason Terry with 2:57 remaining in the second quarter that left Tony Snell with an uncontested path to the basket. “I don’t even remember that.”
The basket gave Milwaukee a 53-50 lead en route to its eventual 118-101 victory, snapping a four-game win streak for the now 13-3 Cavs.
The blunder certainly wasn’t the main reason Cleveland lost – it can blame its season-high 20 turnovers leading to 22 Milwaukee points and the 68 points in the paint it gave up for that – yet Smith maintained his charade of selective amnesia nonetheless.
“What play are you talking about?” Smith said when a reporter continued to ask him about the clip that had already gone viral before the game even ended.
When the reporter described the play in detail, Smith replied, “I didn’t even know I was in the game. My bad.”
During the interview Smith wore a ski mask style cover over his face, only making his answers more bizarre.
“It’s my alter ego,” Smith said. “It’s a gift from Ohio State, so I figure why not?”
Smith got the hood he during the Cavs’ trip to the Ohio State-Michigan football game over the weekend.
He was then asked if his alter ego had a name.
“Yeah,” he said.
What is it?
“I can’t tell you,” Smith said as LeBron James chuckled as he got dressed at the locker next to him, causing Smith to laugh as well.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was in a far less cheery mood after what was, unmistakably, his team’s worst loss of the season.
“I just didn’t like that we didn’t match their physicality,” Lue said after Cleveland saw an early 14-point lead turn into a double-digit defeat. “I…