The NBA announced recently that Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith will not receive further discipline after shoving Al Horford to the ground during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Play in Question

With just under four minutes to play Al Horford set a pick and rolled for an alley-oop. J.R. Smith gave Horford a shove in the back on the way up, and Al went tumbling to the ground. Smith got issued a Flagrant 1 on the play.

It was blatant that the shove was no accident, and in an aggressive manner. Horford was completely airborne when J.R. made his decision. He thrusted his arms into Al’s body, jolting him forward out of control.

After the game, J.R. openly admitted to the shove, stating, “It was a good call. I blatantly pushed him.”

The Fallout with J.R. Smith

What kind of example is the NBA trying to set here? Two of the most dangerous positions a player can get injured in is getting undercut and having their feet taken out (like Gordon Hayward), and being shoved while airborne. Not only did Smith commit a hostile act, but he openly admitted to doing so!

If Horford had gotten injured on the play, one must wonder if the NBA would have decided to take further disciplinary action on the incident. The league must focus on the action that happened, not on the result. It sets a bad public example by letting such a heinous act go without any consequences, even if Horford is fine after the incident.

J.R. Smith is averaging two points on 12% shooting in the Eastern Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see how he performs as the series progresses.


Game 3 will take place in Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night at 8:30 pm.