The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a heartbreaker in Game 1 of the NBA Finals thanks to a controversial foul change and a freakish sequence in the final seconds in which it appeared that JR Smith forgot the score.
It proved costly as the Warriors went on to win in overtime where Tristan Thompson was ejected in the dying seconds. The Warriors, in 17 playoff games, outscored their opponents by 130 points in the third quarter and a total of 20 points in the other three quarters combined.
While the game was ultimately decided in overtime, the turning point of the game happened in the final seconds of regulation.
LeBron James had a monster game and put his team in position to win.
"We know he's going to make tough shots, and sometimes you've got to live with it". "If James and the Cavaliers win Game 1, you know, the interest is going to skyrocket because they are going to have done what very few - except for them maybe - think they can do, which is win at Golden State", Van Gundy said. Hill's missed free throw and Smith's blunder were the only things that could stop the bleeding. In a way, Thursday's contest was a microcosm of Golden State's season. "He thought we were up one". But James was given a foul following a review with 36.4 seconds left and Kevin Durant converted a pair of free throws to tie it at 104. "It's not like we're not the best friends and I don't think you should be best friends with a player and an owner shouldn't be best friends unless I'm your father and that's my son, and, OK, cool we could be great then".
Said Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Wednesday: "He's frustrated".
With two former MVPs in Steph Curry and Kevin Durant leading the way alongside All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, it's not really surprising at all. The narrative would change quickly if Cleveland were to steal one in Oakland and push the defending champion Warriors into a deep series.
The Warriors, meanwhile, will be without key reserve Andre Iguodala (left leg injury) for Game 1. From there, Cleveland needs to do what Houston did against Golden State - force turnovers and attack the offensive glass.
Nine-time NBA All-Star guard Gary Payton picked iconic center Wilt Chamberlain, who averaged a record 50.4 points in a season, over James or Jordan.