Less than 20 minutes after the Cleveland Cavaliers blew a six-point lead with three minutes left and went down 3-0 to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, it appeared that J.R. Smith pulled out his phone in the Cavs’ locker room and sent a concise, eight-character tweet out to the world that might have been the most J.R. Smith tweet ever:
“Cavs in 7.”
The tweet immediately made the rounds, prompting all kinds of hilarious reactions. And — at least for several minutes — it was very real. It was from actual, verified JR Smith, @TheRealJRSmith.
The tweet stayed up for roughly eight minutes. It had over 37,000 retweets and over 29,000 likes. And then … *poof*. It was gone. Deleted.
Smith apparently claims that he was hacked. “I got out of the shower and my phone was buzzing. I did not tweet that,” he told Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com. “I’m smarter than that.”
That said, Smith doesn’t necessarily dispute the message in the deleted tweet:
Caught J.R. Smith as he was walking out of arena. Says he didn't tweet & account was hacked, but that he likes what the hacker was thinking
— Joseph Casciaro (@JosephCasciaro) June 8, 2017
Should we believe Smith’s explanation? Yeah, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The timing of the tweet was always a bit suspect.
On the other hand, there’s a reason that nobody initially had even the slightest second thought that the tweet wasn’t real. That’s because of the history of the person behind the account. This is J.R. Smith we’re talking about, after all. He might be the most irrationally confident player in the NBA. If there were ever a player who would make such a proclamation less than 20 minutes after going down 3-0, it’s Smith. But alas, it appears it was too good to be true.
However … Smith tweeting ‘Cavs in 7,’ then swiftly deleting it, is a pretty good summation of, or metaphor for, these NBA Finals. Cleveland is cooked. Kevin Love was asked about Smith’s tweet after the game, and couldn’t even muster up a Yeah, we think we can come back:
Q: “J.R. tweeted out after the game ‘Cavs in 7.’ How much belief do you guys have in that?”
Love: “We played great. We played really well tonight. We scrapped and felt like everyone gave a great effort. We have to come in and win Game 4.”
Smith and the Cavs can believe in a comeback all they want. But then they’ll walk out on the floor for Game 4, see the greatest team in history on the other side of the court, and realize that any push for a historic comeback is about as futile as can be.