A therapy dog is just what the doctor ordered for J.R. Smith against the Charlotte Hornets. The Cavs' head athletic trainer, Steve Spiro, had the team spend time with Remington, a golden retriever who is the University of North Carolina baseball team's service dog.
No one was more excited than Smith, who bonded with the dog almost immediately. Going into the game, Smith had six points in the Cavs' first two games on their three-game road trip, but he finished strong in Charlotte, scoring 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting after spending some quality time with "Remi."
"It was right on time, especially for me," Smith told ESPN. "I'm an emotional person. I live in my head. I don't really express a lot of things. But let's just say it was right on time."
Smith, who has two dogs of his own, doesn't shy away from giving them the attention they deserve, even throwing one of his pups a birthday when he turned one.
The dog was provided to UNC by paws4people, an organization that believes in the power of healing through dogs.
Cavs acting head coach Larry Drew credited Remington for Smith's performance in the team's game against the Hornets. "You know, I think it was the canine," Drew told ESPN. "I can tell he's very fond of that dog, and we're going to have to get that dog back to more shootarounds."