In a series in which most are predicting a Golden State sweep, the Cleveland Cavaliers put up a dog fight in Oracle Arena last night. A fight that was fueled by a brilliant performance from LeBron James. James got out to a fast start making 13 of his first 16 shots. He finished the night with a stunning stat line of 51 points on 19/32 shooting (59%), 8 rebounds and 8 assists. This now ties him for most 30 point playoff performances with Michael Jordan at 109. Head Coach Ty Lue feels the Cavs came up robbed after an incredible game by James.
Lue feels the Cavs were robbed because of the questionable review with 36 seconds left on the originally called charge on Kevin Durant. Tony Brothers and company felt James wasn’t in a legal guarding position and the call was changed to a blocking foul. Durant, despite struggling all night, knocked down two big free throws to tie the game at 104.
Out of a timeout, James scored the go ahead bucket only for Steph Curry to come back with an answer of his own, a three point play to give the Warriors a 107-106 lead. Curry finished with 29 points on 11/23 shooting (48%), 6 rebounds and 9 assists.
Here’s where the craziness ensued. James rifled a pass down low to George Hill. Hill’s arm was hooked by Klay Thompson sending Hill to the line. The career 80% shooter made the first to tie the game, but came up short on the second. However, JR Smith was able to come with a big offensive board…except he didn’t what was going on. Instead of immediately kicking it out to a teammate or going back up with it, he decides to run all the way out to half court before finally realizing what he’d done.
After the game, Ty Lue was asked about what occurred and he responded saying JR thought the game was “over”. James was asked the same question, but was unwilling to throw his teammate under the bus. The reporter was persistent on getting LeBron’s answer. This annoyed James and made him walk away from the podium. I don’t blame him one bit, though. Imagine playing your heart out in the NBA Finals, scoring 51 points only to lose because your teammate didn’t what the score of the game was. That is the last thing you want to talk about post game.
So, after that debacle the game went to overtime. I think the Cavs just felt defeated after that mess and it showed. Golden State jumped all over Cleveland in the extra session outscoring them 17-7. In the Final minute of overtime, James started jawing with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Then, Tristan Thompson and Draymond Green got tangled up. Thompson shoved the ball in Green’s face. He was then ejected with 2.6 seconds left.
“We’ve got to move on. This game is over and done with.” James said post game. Game 2 will be Sunday back at Oracle Arena. It will be very interesting to see how the Cavaliers respond.