Part IV lives up to hype: Game 1 continues drama between the Dubs and Cavs, as teams give fans all the drama they can handle.
After Smith gaffe at end of regulation, Warriors overwhelm Cavaliers in overtime
OAKLAND » The fourth installment started out as compelling as the first three.
The rest of the league might be tired of the Warriors and the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Yet, the Warriors and Cavaliers produced enough drama to keep the storylines fresh. It seemed too many to count.
In no particular order: the first episode featured LeBron James’ 51 points. J. R. Smith’s lategame gaffe, a controversial charging call, Klay Thompson’s left ankle injury, Tristan Thompson’s ejection after scuffling with Draymond Green, Stephen Curry’s verbal exchange with James. And, oh yeah, the Warriors finished with a 124-114 Game 1 overtime victory on Thursday at Oracle Arena after exchanging 17 ties and 15 lead changes.
“Everybody has been saying and writing that it’s going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re playing a great team. They’ve been to The Finals four years in a row, just like we have, for a reason.”
The game would probably not have gone to overtime had Smith made the right play. After Cavaliers guard George Hill missed the second of two free throws with the game tied, 107-107, with 4.7 seconds left, Smith grabbed the rebound.
Instead of trying to score over Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Smith ran out the clock as if the Cavaliers had a lead. Smith cut back toward the perimeter before passing to Hill as time expired. James had tried calling timeout with any luck.
What happened? It depends on whom you ask.
Said Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: “He thought it was over. He thought we were up one.”
Said Smith: “I knew we were tied but I thought we were going to call timeout because we got the rebound. I’m pretty sure people didn’t think I was going to shoot the ball over KD.”
The play reminded Kerr of when Dallas Mavericks guard Derek Harper dribbled out the clock with the score tied against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the 1984Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers won in overtime.
The Warriors also won in overtime because Kerr after his team got “lucky” with Smith’s mistake.
“You got to know the score,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green, who had 13 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. “That’s just kind of basketball. You got to know if you’re winning or losing or tied. We’ll take it. Sometimes it’s good to be a little lucky.”
The Warriors capitalized on that luck by opening overtime with a 12-2 run. More theatrics happened just before the end of the game. Curry and James started jawing, soon to be joined by Thompson.
“Just words exchanged on a good block, and keep it moving on my end,” said Curry, who had 29 points. “There’s going to be chatter. We’ve gotten very familiar with each other over the last four years. So, I guess it’s kind of part of the game. But at the end of the day, it’s a bunch of nothing.”
Then, when Livingston put up a shot in the closing seconds — the shot clock was about to expire — Thompson took a run at him.
“The unspoken rule in the NBA: If you’re up by 10 or 11 with about 20 seconds left, you don’t take that shot,” Thompson said.
Thompson was then ejected with a Flagrant 2 foul.
“He is coming toward Shaun,” officials Ken Mauer and Tony Brothers told a pool reporter. “His elbow is up high and it appears he hits him in the head when he is coming toward him.”
It wasn’t over yet. Green approached Thompson and began clapping his hands in Thompson’s face. Thompson pushed the ball into Green’s face and only cool heads — by Green, no less — kept things from getting out of hand.
“It wasn’t much verbal,” Green said. “Life goes on. He got a flagrant 2 for
the foul, we move forward and get ready for the next game.”
Moments beforehand, it appeared possible the Warriorsmight squander Game 1.
James made a layup and an ensuing foul shot to give the Cavs a 104-102 leadwith 50.8 seconds left. Then, Durant was charged for an offensive foul after colliding with James in the lane. But the call was overturned after review, and Durant was granted two foul shots to tie the game at 104.
Lue argued that “LeBron was clearly four feet outside the restricted area.” But Mauer and Brothers told a pool reporter they determined James “was out of the restricted area” and “not in a legal guarding position.”
“I knew he was late on the drive, and I knew I had my man beat and he came over a little late,” said Durant, who had 26 points.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who led the team with 29points, drains a clutch 3-pointer from half court to tie the game at the first-half buzzer in Game 1Thursday at Oracle Arena.
Cavaliers star LeBron James reacts to an offensive foul called against Kevin Durant — a call that was overturned.