This week’s Cleveland Cavaliers Flashback Friday is one of my personal favorites, with J.R. Smith having something cookin’ against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the Knickerbockers next on the schedule tomorrow night, which is always a fun one to watch. Everybody loves to play in what is one of the great cathedrals in American sport in MSG, and LeBron usually owns the show in these matchups. On February 22, 2015, the Cavs had a primetime game against the Knicks. This one was particularly interesting, with J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert returning to MSG for the first time since being dealt to the Cavs by the Knicks earlier that same year.
The game itself wasn’t very notable, as the Cavs won going away 101-83, and the Knicks were 10-45 after this one was concluded. That said, it was fun to watch “J.R. Swish” light it up. From the jump, you knew that it was going to be over early, and it was.
It was awesome to see both Shump and Smith play well going against their former team, though. Shump played very well on the defensive end of the floor, but J.R. really stole the show.
He had 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including three triples. One of them was a banked in three from the left corner, too. The three ball has been the key to prolonging Smith’s career, and there’s no doubt about that. In this Sunday afternoon primetime game, though, J.R. went back to his earlier days with a few incredible jams. The first one was a smooth, silky throw down on a fastbreak that was a throwback to his earlier days. It’s also my Twitter Avi, for the record.
The second was one that really was a turning point in Smith’s welcoming to Cleveland, however. This double-clutch reverse alley-oop on a dish from Shump was something I’ll never forget.
This Cavs W meant so much to Shump and J.R., and it was great to see Smith put on a show for his former home crowd. Here’s his full highlights from the game, to reinforce how memorable it was in the bright lights of MSG in front of a national audience.
Even if the Cavs have to get rid of Swish in the coming weeks, he’ll always be my guy. Who knows though? There may be a reunion with Melo. Regardless, get healthy Swish, us NBA fans miss you.