The reversal of a pivotal call in the closing minute of regulation launched a torrent of debate following the Golden State Warriors' 124-114 overtime win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. There were several calls down the stretch that angered James, with the biggest coming after James drove past Stephen Curry for a three-point play that put Cleveland up 104-102 with 50 seconds left. LeBron James, who finished with 51 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, revealed that Smith didn't even bother to address his teammates about the crucial mistake. The referee crew elected to review the play, an option afforded to them by the National Basketball Association rulebook, to examine whether James was situated fully outside the restricted area.
Upon review, it did look like a blocking foul on LeBron (although in real time it was one of those bang-bang National Basketball Association plays that can be called either way). Two free throws by Durant began the run. The Warriors won the first Finals meeting in six games.
"It was a tie ballgame and we had a timeout", Smith said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
"We hope to get the best of him (James) in this series, and that's what we're going to try to do", said Curry.
And right where they've opened every year since 2015.
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He finished the game one assist shy of a triple-double, scoring 35 points while adding 15 rebounds - a game-high in either stat. While it's common to hear that at pretty much any point the Cavs lay a turd, it multiplies by about ten come playoff time.
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LeBron James has literally carried the Cleveland Cavaliers on his shoulders throughout the tournament and if it wasn't for his brilliance the Cavs would have been eliminated a lot earlier in the season. The game came down to the wire, and George Hill had a chance to give the Cavs the lead with just seconds to go.
"I read that play just as well as I've read any play in my career, maybe in my life", said James.
"I think I've missed one or two practices a [year], because when you live in northeast OH and you have four seasons, you will get sick". Return to this post from 12:00 to 1:30 on Friday and the comments feature will allow you to share your thoughts. "There were just some plays that were kind of taken away from us".
He then opted not to pass as a streaking Klay Thompson came into the picture. For the first time between these two teams, the Cavaliers will need to steal Game 1 at Oracle Arena if they want to stay in the race. "We got lucky. He could've taken a shot". But it wasn't enough when Curry answered with a three-point play followed by Smith's miscue.
When Nichols asked if James' relationship with Gilbert would affect his free-agency decision, James said, "We're going to see".