DETROIT – After escaping a feisty Detroit Pistons squad 100-98 in Game 4 of the first round to advance to the East semifinals in a 4-0 series sweep, the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be clicking on all cylinders.
Thanks to shooting guard J.R. Smith, the Cavs appear to have that missing ingredient that they missed last year in a bonafide three-point marksman.
For all of the many media accolades and attention that Golden State’s Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have received throughout the regular season in finishing one and two in three-pointer field goals made per game during the regular season with 5.1 and 3.5 respectively, when hot, Smith is nearly unguardable–as witnessed in Game 4 vs. Detroit–from beyond the arc.
Perhaps the master of the contested three-point shot, Smith shows no hesitation in hoisting up seemingly impossible shots to the tune of finishing tied for seventh with Indiana’s Paul George and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant in made three-pointers with 2.6 made three’s a game.
For the year, Smith—aka J.R. Swish to those in the CLE—finished with 204 total made three’s while shooting 40 percent from long-range and averaging 12.4 points per game.
Throughout his first four games so far this postseason, Smith appears to be locked in.
In the Cavs four wins over the Pistons, Smith has made 4.3 three-pointers a game while shooting 51.5 percent (17-of-33) from beyond the arc. Currently, Smith is the top three-point shooter in total three pointers made (17) and attempts made per game (4.3).
Care to guess who’s second? None other than fellow backcourt teammate, Kyrie Irving, who is second in three pointers made per game (4.0) total three-pointers made (16) and points per game (27.5).
What about the aforementioned Curry and Thompson you ask? The Splash Brothers are both tied for fifth so far, in averaging 3.0 made threes a game. While Curry is expected to miss some time due to his recently diagnosed Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee, Thompson will have to take over as the defending champions’ main go-to three point shooter.
While more know for his many tattoos, love of hoverboards and unique fashion style, make no mistake, the man known as J.R Swish is making things happen in the Rock and Roll Capital of the World.
If Smith continues his sharp shooting well into June, then he and title-starved Cleveland may be celebrating right down Euclid Ave.