War­riors win NBA Fi­nals opener

King James scores ca­reer high 51 in Game One de­feat

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

Acon­tro­ver­sial video re­view foul re­ver­sal left Cleve­land coach Ty­ronn Lue feel­ing “robbed” af­ter the Golden State War­riors ripped the Cava­liers 124-114 in over­time in Thurs­day’s NBA Fi­nals opener.

Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Kevin Du­rant added 26 and Klay Thomp­son had 24 to spark the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons to vic­tory de­spite LeBron James scor­ing a play­off ca­reer­high 51 points in de­feat.

“To do what he did tonight and come out robbed, it’s just not right,” Lue said.

A phys­i­cal, heated and emo­tional game marked the start of the fourth fi­nals in a row be­tween the teams and the eighth in a row in­volv­ing James, who echoed Lue’s theft theme.

“There were some plays that we had taken away from us,” James said. “We’re in the fight now. They got a great taste of it tonight.”

The cru­cial mo­ment came with 36.4 sec­onds re­main­ing in the fourth quar­ter as Du­rant was whis­tled for a charg­ing foul that was over­turned on video re­view into a block­ing foul on James, giv­ing Du­rant two free throws he made to lift the War­riors level at 104-104.

“I read that play just as well as I’ve read any play in my ca­reer, maybe in my life,” James said. “I seen the play hap­pen­ing. I was out­side the charge line. I stepped in, took the con­tact. It’s a huge play.”

Lue said James was clearly out­side the line so the play never should have been re­viewed, much less re­versed.

“For our team to come out and play their hearts out and com­pete the way we did, man, I mean, it’s bad,” Lue said.

“It has never been done, ever, in the his­tory of the game. And then tonight in the fi­nals on the big­gest stage, when our team played well, played our ass off, man, it ain’t right. It ain’t right.”

Ref­eree Ken Mauer de­fended the choice to re­view the call.

“We had doubt as to whether or not James was in the re­stricted area,” Mauer said. “It was de­ter­mined he was out of the re­stricted area but he was not in a le­gal guard­ing po­si­tion prior to Du­rant’s sep­a­rate shoot­ing mo­tion. So we had to change it to a block­ing foul.”

Golden State coach Steve Kerr said he had seen such a re­ver­sal “not of­ten, but I’ve seen it a cou­ple times.”

Du­rant said he had a blockcharge re­ver­sal in the reg­u­lar sea­son. “I knew once it was 30 sec­onds to go that they could re­view that sit­u­a­tion,” Du­rant said. “I knew he was late on the drive and I knew I had my man beat and he came over a lit­tle late. So when they called the charge I was sur­prised.”

Af­ter play re­sumed, James hit an in­side shot and Curry an­swered with a 3-point play but Cleve­land’s Ge­orge Hill made a free throw to pull the Cavs level at 107-107 with 4.7 sec­onds re­main­ing in the fourth quar­ter.

Photo: AFP

LeBron James of the Cleve­land Cava­liers goes to the bas­ket against the Golden State War­riors in Game One of the 2018 NBA Fi­nals on Thurs­day at OR­A­CLE Arena in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia. War­riors ripped the Cava­liers 124-114.

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