KEEPING IT RAHEEL

Raheel Ramzanali: What really happened on the J.R. Smith play

Raheel Ramzanali: What really happened on the J.R. Smith play
What really happened to J.R. Smith? Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

We’re almost a week removed from one of the greatest misplays in NBA Finals history and I still have no closure from J.R. Smith’s gaffe. We’ve seen the memes, the uncut footage, and various explanations, but I still don’t believe any of it. In an attempt to find the truth, I want to present four explanations as to why J.R. Smith forgot the score and forgot what was happening during Game 1 of the NBA Finals:

  1. Maybe J.R. Smith was so caught off-guard with George Hill missing the go-ahead free throw that he froze and couldn’t understand how an 81% playoff free throw shooter could miss such an easy free throw in a game that nobody gave them a chance in. I think J.R. truly didn’t believe it was possible and when the moment happened he didn’t want to believe it so he ran towards the bench with the ball thinking Hill hit it and wanted him to have the game ball.

  2. Maybe J.R. was so caught off-guard with the in-game tweet From Kanye West about his album debut listening party that he forgot the score. Look, I know Kanye’s not the same, but a lot of people still look forward to his new music and J.R. like many were hyped when they saw Kanye would be streaming his album for the masses during Game 1 one of the finals. Unfortunately, Kanye didn’t stream it until after the game so maybe J.R., like me, was frustrated from waiting and lost track of the score.

  3. 14 million possible futures and THIS was the one that worked out? Like many, I’m still struggling to comprehend the end of Infinity War. In fact, sometimes I start thinking about it and forget that I’m driving and find myself in a panic braking really hard. I know financially they can’t kill off all of these characters, but I need to know how THIS was the one way to end Thanos. I know comic book movies bring out the nerd in all of us and I don’t think J.R. is a comic book nerd, but the movie did also bring in a trillion dollars or something so maybe he was just thinking about the end of the Avengers during a pivotal time in the game.

  4. Maybe J.R. is so thankful for LeBron’s guidance in his career that he decided to help open the door for “LeBron has no help in Cleveland and should leave at the end of the year” takes. By being the ultimate friend and teammate, J.R. gave evidence to the NBA world as to why LeBron should leave and try to win a title with another team. If the Cavs win that game and eventually lose the series in 5 or 6, the talk would be about how the Cavs are one piece away from beating the Warriors. Now that they’re facing a sweep, nobody will fault LeBron for leaving the Cavs and all of that started with one, J.R. Smith.

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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