Golden rule ap­plies in OT

James scores 44, but he misses chance to win it and War­riors roll in ex­tra pe­riod.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Mike Bres­na­han

OAK­LAND — Oh, my. LeBron James isn’t flaw­less.

He looked it for four quar­ters, but then Thurs­day’s game dripped into over­time and James ran out of what­ever it is that pow­ers him.

The Golden State War­riors beat the Cleve­land Cava­liers, 108-100, dom­i­nat­ing the ex­tra five min­utes in Game 1 of the NBA Fi­nals.

James looked mostly un­stop­pable un­til dis­ap­pear­ing in over­time, scor­ing two points, miss­ing three of four shots and com­mit­ting two turnovers.

“We couldn’t get a good look, couldn’t get noth­ing to drop, in­clud­ing my­self,” said James, who fin­ished with 44 points, his most ever in the Fi­nals, on 18-for-38 shoot­ing. He also had eight re­bounds and six as­sists.

“We re­ally only had zero [over­time] points,” James said. “I got a layup at the end, but that didn’t mean much.”

As it was, the Cava­liers

tied the Fi­nals record for fewest over­time points since the shot-clock era (1954-55).

Cleve­land’s cause could be dam­aged be­cause All-Star guard Kyrie Irv­ing rein­jured his prob­lem­atic left leg in over­time. He missed two games in the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals be­cause of knee ten­dini­tis and limped off the court Thurs­day shortly af­ter crum­pling on a drive to­ward the bas­ket.

An MRI exam was sched­uled Fri­day for Irv­ing, who needed crutches af­ter the game. He had 23 points and six as­sists af­ter more than a week of rest.

“It’s very tough to see,” James said. “I see how hard he worked th­ese last eight days just to get him­self to play at this level [in Game 1]. It’s a tough blow for our team.”

The stage was large, with­out a doubt, but the War­riors changed lit­tle from their sea­son-long for­mula — heavy back­court re­liance and to­tal author­ity at home.

Most valu­able player Stephen Curry had 26 points and Klay Thomp­son added 21 as the War­riors im­proved to 47-3 at Or­a­cle Arena.

Good news for War­riors fans, who haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced a cham­pi­onship since 1975 — the team that wins Game 1 has cap­tured the ti­tle 71% of the time.

Even bet­ter news for them: Game 2 is also at home, on Sun­day.

The War­riors started slowly, fall­ing be­hind by 14, per­haps be­cause of in­ex­pe­ri­ence. They were the first team since Utah in 1997 to reach the Fi­nals with­out any play­ers with cham­pi­onshipround ex­pe­ri­ence.

They were for­given, see­ing how the fran­chise hadn’t been this far since win­ning it all in 1975. Curry and Thomp­son were steady­ing hands, along with vet­eran An­dre Iguo­dala (15 points).

Curry staked the War­riors an early over­time lead by mak­ing four free throws and Har­ri­son Barnes’ three­p­ointer from the left cor­ner made it 105-98 with 2:02 re­main­ing.

Be­fore the game, well be­fore James had 31 points through three quar­ters, a re­porter ad­vised Golden State Coach Steve Kerr to throw the “kitchen sink” at James.

“It sounds like a good plan,” Kerr said, laugh­ing. “Think you might swing by my of­fice be­fore the game?”

James of­ten played vil­lain to the hos­tile crowd, stick­ing out his chest af­ter sink­ing a 12-foot fade­away over Iguo­dala for an 86-82 lead with 6:29 left in the fourth quar­ter.

James couldn’t shake the War­riors, though.

The game headed to over­time at 98-98 af­ter Irv­ing blocked Curry’s layup with 24 sec­onds left, then James’ turn-around 21-footer missed, as did Iman Shumpert’s sur­pris­ingly close des­per­a­tion f lick off the re­bound from three­p­oint range.

Ti­mofey Moz­gov had 16 points for Cleve­land, but only two other Cava­liers scored in dou­ble fig­ures. Re­serve guard J.R. Smith missed 10 of 13 shots and had only nine points.

“Over the course of the game, I felt like we stuck to the game plan,” Curry said. “LeBron’s go­ing to dom­i­nate the ball and make plays. Don’t give him any easy buck­ets and [do] not let any­body else get a rhythm.”

Ezra Shaw Getty Images

L eBRON JAMES, who scored 44 points, gets all tan­gled up with Golden State’s Klay Thomp­son.

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