The Cleveland Cavaliers made a tremendous statement of their playoffs intentions on Thursday morning thanks to JR Smith’s lethal shooting from beyond the three-point line.
As the Cavaliers secured a 107-90 win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 2 of the First-Round of the Eastern Conference, Smith made 7 of his 11 three-pointers en route to 21 points, and Cleveland took a commanding 2-0 series lead.
He entered the night averaging 11.1 points on 27-of-86 (31.3 percent) from the field, including 17-of-58 (29.3 percent) from three-point range, in his last seven playoff games.
“I was open so I shot the ball. It’s kind of simple for me,” said Smith, who set the Cavaliers’ single-season three-point shooting mark this year.
“I have some great teammates that are willing to make the open pass and I was just one of the guys in that situation to make them,” he added.
After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Finals last year, the Cavaliers have regrouped, and look more like a title contender this time round.
Kevin Love, who sat out most of the postseason last year after suffering a shoulder injury against Boston, is playing solid basketball. Former Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving looks tenacious and LeBron James continues to chase his third NBA championship. All this make the Cavaliers, who entered the playoffs as the No 1 seed in the East, a real, if not, the favourite to go all the way to the Finals.
On Thursday morning, the Cavaliers reminded everyone why they are on a mission by tying an NBA record, making 20 three-pointers while holding the Pistons to just 37 points after the break.
Smith continued: “Whenever I play well, there’s a sense of relief,” Smith said. “If I don’t play up to the stature that I feel like I should be playing, I’ll just be in the gym and work harder and that’s what I did. Fortunately, I just came out on the top at the end. Regardless if I’m making shots or if I’m not making shots, I can’t let that affect my game all-around.”
Game 3 will shift to The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit on Saturday morning.