Warriors withstand LeBron’s 51 points in wild OT win
LeBron James scored 51 points, but Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be more remembered for J.R. Smith’s late blunder that led to a 124-114 Warriors’ overtime victory.
The Cavaliers had a chance to pull off the road upset with 4.7 seconds remaining with guard George Hill at the free throw line. Hill hit his first shot to tie the game at 107-107, but missed his second shot.
Smith got the rebound and dribbled the ball out to the perimeter, seemingly thinking the Cavs had the lead and waiting for a foul, before passing the ball to Hill, who couldn’t quite get off a last-second shot.
While Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said after the game that Smith thought Cleveland had the lead, Smith told reporters that he knew the game was tied and was waiting for someone to call a timeout.
Whatever the reason for Smith’s miscue, Golden State took advantage of the mistake to score the first nine points of overtime on their way to victory.
James, who started off hot by hitting his first six shots, hit a postseason career high with his 51 points.
He was helped out by the return of Kevin Love, who missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals with a concussion. Love contributed a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The only other Cavalier to reach double-digit scoring was Smith, who scored 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Warriors had a more balanced team effort, led by Stephen Curry’s 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Kevin Durant added 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks, while Klay Thompson scored 24 points.
Draymond Green just missed a triple-double for the Warriors with 13 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five steals and two blocks.
The win gives the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the fourth straight Finals matchup between the two teams. The series will remain in Oakland for Game 2 on Sunday night.