We expected a great game but had no idea it would be an overtime thriller. Game 1 of the NBA Finals was everything we predicted it would be. Last night's ratings were the highest for a Game 1 ever on ABC's network since picking up the coverage 13 years ago. Up 24 percent from last year's Miami Heat-San Antonio Spurs series, Game 1 was a huge success for the NBA.
MVP Stephen Curry showed up NBA's best LeBron James, and the Warriors beat the Cavaliers 108-100 in OT. James scored 44 points in 46 minutes and that wasn't enough against Curry and his teammates, who performed excellent defense in the final minutes. Cleveland went almost scoreless in overtime as Golden State went on a 10-0 run.
"It was a classic five minutes we needed to get that win," said Curry of the overtime.
James missed a long jump shot at the end of regulation and the Cavs missed their first eight shots to start OT, giving the Warriors the break they needed while battling a close game. Golden State trailed early by 14, but tied the game late in the second quarter. Klay Thompson was cleared to play after a suffering a mild concussion last series against the Houston Rockets.
"That's what we've been doing the whole year," Thompson said. "Wearing teams down."
Thompson hadn't been much a factor in previous playoff games but looked back to his regular season form Thursday night, finishing with 21 points. The Warriors got a collective effort from everyone; especially Draymond Green who played with five fouls and avoiding a 6th to help his team get the victory. Green had 12 points and six rebounds.
Cleveland's reserves took an additional day off as JR Smith was the only player off the bench in double figures and he went 3-for-13 from the field. The Cavs also lost point guard Kyrie Irving in overtime when he went down after getting tangled up with Thompson. He re-injured his left knee, which has given him problems throughout the playoffs. Irving did walk off the court back to the locker room on is own, but looked to be in much pain. There's a possibility he may be done for the series.
"That's a tough blow to our team," said James.
"It didn't feel right, different from what I've been experiencing," said Irving. "Last time (vs. Atlanta) was a quick pinch. This time it was a little different from the last time. All I know the body works in mysterious ways, you can see in the tone of my voice, I'm a little worried."
Irving blocked Curry's layup with 24 seconds left in regulation. James then missed at the other end forcing another five minutes of play. Curry made four free throws before Harrison Barnes made a three from the corner making it 105-98. Cleveland had nothing left in the tank.
The fans at Oracle erupted in the end and rightly so. These fans hadn't seen a championship game since 1975. Golden State are 13-3 in the playoffs and 47-3 at home this season. They look to continue and protect home court for Sunday's game.
"We all have to be better, including myself," James said. "I don't think I was great. I've got to do a lot better, to help us and be more precise offensively."