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J.R. Smith's thumb OK; Iman Shumpert wants to dunk more like he did on Serge Ibaka

By Joe Vardon • May 2, 2017 at 5:30 PM

CLEVELAND — J.R. Smith said he banged his surgically repaired right thumb in the first half of the Cavs' 116-105 win over Toronto in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal.

Now, before we go any further, the injury was not as bad as Tyronn Lue indicated after the game, when Lue said Smith had an X-ray. There was no X-ray; Smith said the trainers looked at it and he played another nine minutes in the second half.

"I'm not sure if I hit it on the floor or somebody hacked down on it," Smith said. "It didn't really feel right at first. Had the trainers look at it and nothing structurally wrong or anything like that. It should be fine Game 2."

Smith missed three months recovering from surgery to repair the fractured thumb he suffered Dec. 20. Smith scored six points on two 3-pointers Monday night, but scoring just isn't his primary role right now.

Smith was the primary defender on DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors' leading scorer for the season who was held to 19 points in Game 1. DeRozan averaged 29.7 points against the Cavs during the regular season and averaged 23.5 points in the Raptors' first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"Last series Paul George, tonight DeMar DeRozan, two premier players in our league and he took the challenge and did a great job," Lue said of Smith.

Lue also praised Iman Shumpert, who backs up Smith, for his defense on DeRozan and on Kyle Lowry, Toronto's other All-Star guard who finished with 20 points.

But what Shumpert will be remembered for is the vicious, facial dunk he delivered over Serge Ibaka in the first quarter.

"It wasn't like a relief to make a dunk," Shumpert said. "I dunk a lot and I think because I'm on a team right now with a lot of different scorers, my role is not to have the ball all the time and be in the lane as much as I can. But trust me I would much rather wanna put my hands on that rim a little bit more.

"As you go on throughout your career you get more opportunities to do that. Right now for this team I just gotta continue to make those energy plays, continue to defend at a high level and we gotta continue to win these games."

Ibaka said: "He did what he's supposed to do. That's the playoffs."

"I'm a shot blocker," Ibaka said. "It's a part of the game. When you're a shot blocker you've got to expect sometimes people are going to dunk on you."

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