Regulate or Sabotage?
From the oustet of Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, it was apparent we were in for some exciting and intriguing basketball. LeBron James would assure us of that much with a perfect first quarter, scoring 12 points on 4-4 shooting (1-1 on 3s) and adding 3 assists and a steal. The Cavs would get 9 points from Kevin Love and 7 from J.R. Smith and led 30-29 after shooting 11-20.
The Warriors were 12-21 and got 11 points (4-5 fg, 2-2 3s) from Steph Curry and 6 points (2-6, 0-2 3s) from Kevin Durant.
Golden State would return the favour in the second quarter, outscoring the Cavs 27-26 to tie the game at halftime on this classic Steph Curry deep ball:
That was Steph’s only 3 of the quarter but he finished the half with 18 points (7-12), 3 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal. KD ended up with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal while Draymond Green had his typical 5 points, 2 boards, 2 assists and 3 steals.
The King continued his brilliance in the second quarter, ending the half with 24 points on 9-11 shooting, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. Love had 12, 6 and 1, and Larry Nance Jr posted 8 points and 7 assists on 4-5 shooting.
To start the third quarter, Steve Kerr assemble his Regulators and uttered the fateful words: Mount up.
And regulate they did. The Warriors went on a typical third quarter surge with a 10-3 run and It felt like the game might get out of hand. The King responded with a 7-0 run of his own. After Kevon Looney ended that streak, LeBron had his shot blocked but immediately put the rebound in and then made a Curry-like deep 3. Curry responded with a 3 of his own and then James took one more heat check 3 that missed. The score was knotted back up at 73-73. The Warriors would outscore the Cavs 11-5 from there to lead 84-78 going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, LeBron kept adding to what was already an all-time Finals performance. He would finish with an amazing 51 points on 19-32 shooting with 8 rebounds, 8 assists, a steal and a block. Almost more importantly, he got some help... until he didn’t. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Kevin Love would have 21 points and 13 rebounds. J.R. Smith added 10 and 6. Nance had 9 points and 11 rebounds. Jeff Green and George Hill had 7 points a piece. LBJ was able to use that help(?) to outscore the Warriors by 8 in the quarter and led by 2 with 36.4 seconds to go when he drew an incredible charge on Durant. And then the refs and the Cavs all turned into the Beastie Boys.
First the refs overturned the charge:
Instead of being up 104-102, the Cavs watched KD knock down both foul shots to tie the game. LeBron would put the Cavs back up 106-104 just 4 seconds later. Curry responded with a crazy and-1 layup and made the foul shot. The Cavs were down 1. George Hill got fouled and stepped to the line trying desperately to look focused, but in reality looked as if he would rather be anywhere else in the world at that moment. The 81% free throw shooter made the first. And then J.R. Smith reminded the world who he is:
Poor King. He did everything he needed to do to steal Game 1 on the road. Maybe Hill should have just made the shot. Maybe LeBron should have boxed out Smith so he never gets that rebound. Or maybe LeBron should have showed up in overtime!
The Warriors scored 7 points before James attempted a shot 2:26 into OT. He would go 0-4 with 2 made foul shots. The Warriors would win by 10.
Anything to say King?
”I can’t stand it, I know you planned it...”