J.R. Smith might want to pick a better time to say hello to a buddy next time.
The Cleveland Cavaliers guard left the floor while play was in progress Tuesday night to share a handshake and hug with Milwaukee’s Jason Terry, who was on the Bucks’ bench.
Cavaliers Coach Tyronn Lue said the incident was a result of a lack of focus by Smith.
“It was an embarrassing moment,” Lue said Wednesday. “Me and J.R. talked about it. We’re just going to move forward. We had a discussion about it, he felt embarrassed about it. It was an embarrassing play. We talked about it. We’re moving on.”
The bizarre occurrence took place as Milwaukee was bringing the ball up the court and left the Bucks’ Tony Snell wide open for an easy dunk. When asked about the sequence after the Cavaliers’ 118-101 loss, Smith gave an equally bizarre response.
At first, he said, “I don’t even remember that.” When a reporter described it to him again, Smith said, “Oh, I didn’t even know I was in the game. My bad.”
Smith was wearing a hood over his head and what appeared to be a ski mask over most of his face during the interview.
“It’s my alter ego,” he said of the mask. “It was a gift from Ohio State, so I figured why not.”
Asked if the alter ego has a name, Smith simply responded, “Yeah.”
Asked what the name is, Smith replied, “I can’t tell you.”
Smith finished with six points, two steals and a blocked shot. He said Wednesday he was just messing around the previous night when he gave his explanation for the botched play.
“I said it more in a joking manner because you can see what happened,” Smith said. “Obviously, I wasn’t paying attention. For me to just sit there and tell you I wasn’t paying attention makes it plain and boring somewhat, especially when you’re asking a question you already know the answer to. But at the same time, I still have to give that boring answer, for whatever reason.”
Lue said he had also addressed Smith’s postgame behavior with the player.
“It wasn’t right,” Lue said. “I talked to him about that also. There’s no need for that. Just address the media in the right way, move on. We got our butts kicked [Tuesday] night. Give Milwaukee credit, they came out, they attacked us, they beat us. Now we’ve got to move on.”
1:20 p.m.: This article has been updated with new quotes from Smith and Lue.
This article was originally published at 8:10 a.m.