The Golden State Warriors waxed hot in the overtime period to down the Cleveland Cavaliers, 124-114, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Friday (Philippine time).
LeBron James’s first career 50-point playoff game went down the drain as the Cavaliers wasted two huge opportunities to steal the game at the end of regulation, setting up the Warriors’ domination in the free basketball session.
Golden State found itself at the crossroads with 4.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and just up, 107-106, when Klay Thompson fouled George Hill underneath while trying to disrupt James’ pass.
Hill, however, made the first free throw but missed the second. JR Smith got the offensive rebound, but in a bizarre moment, he opted to run the clock before finally passing the ball with less than a second, which turned out to be a bit too late.
The Warriors then came to work, opening the extra period with nine straight points and never looked back.
The Cavs’ frustration quickly reached boiling point when Tristan Thompson was tossed out of the game after a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2 on Shaun Livingston with 2.6 seconds left and the Warriors already up big.
Thompson, who seemed to dislike Draymond Green’s comments, threw the ball to him, triggering a commotion that was quickly stopped by cooler heads.
Steph Curry led Golden State, which will host Game 2 on Monday (Philippine time), with 29 points, six rebounds, nine assists, and one steal.
Kevin Durant added 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and one steal, while Klay Thompson, who briefly left the game due to a left leg contusion, chipped in 24 points, three rebounds, and one assist.
Green put up an all-around performance of 13 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five steals, and two blocks.
James put up 51 points, the sixth time someone reached 50 or more in an NBA Finals game and the fifth most all-time in NBA Finals history, together with eight rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and one block.
Kevin Love made a return for Cleveland after getting sidelined for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston and contributed 21 points, 13 boards, and one assist.
Meanwhile, a good-sized crowd braved the early wake-up and the heat at the Eastwood Activity Center in Quezon City for the first leg of the NBA Finals Viewing Party by BTV.
Bruce Bowen, as expected, was in attendance and even gave his analysis in some moments of the game. (Ivan Stewart Saldajeno/PNA)