Late call leaves Lue frustrated as Cavs come up short
Tyronn Lue questioned the officiating after a controversial late call hurt the Cleveland Cavaliers in a topsy-turvy opening game of the NBA Finals.
Playing on the road, the Cavaliers led 104-102 when, with around 40 seconds remaining, Warriors forward Kevin Durant was called for a charge on LeBron James as he attempted to drive to the basket.
However, after initially reviewing the play to check if James was fully outside the restricted area at the time of contact, the officiating crew reversed the decision, much to Cleveland's frustration.
Rather than gain possession with a two-point lead and time on their side, the Cavs had to watch on as Durant hit both free throws to draw the home team level.
After the clash finished 107-107 at the end of regulation - following JR Smith's late-game blunder - Golden State out-scored the visitors 17-7 in overtime to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"I guess the rule is you can review, you can review the call if it's inside or outside the restricted [area], that's the rule I know," Lue told the media after the 124-114 loss.
"And they called a charge, right? And LeBron was clearly four feet outside the restricted area. So it doesn't make sense to go review something. If the review is if he's on the line or if he's close to the charge circle, that's the review. He wasn't close.
"So what are we reviewing? Either call a blocking foul or call an offensive foul.
"For our team to come out and play their hearts out and compete the way we did, man, I mean, it's bad.
"It's never been done before where he's outside the restricted, and then you go there and overturn the call and say it's a block. It's never been done, ever, in the history of the game."
James scored 51 points but was denied the chance to get off a game-winning shot at the end of the fourth quarter when team-mate Smith dribbled out the clock, rather than either shoot himself or pass the ball, after claiming a rebound following a missed free throw.
Still, despite the disappointing nature of the defeat, a visibly frustrated Lue praised his players for their performance.
"You can say what you want until the game is played. So being underdogs or whatever you want to call it," he added.
"I thought our team, for the first time a lot of guys being in the Finals, and the way we played, I just thought they did a good job.
"I thought the gameplan was good. [We] Did some good things but you hate to lose a game like that the way we did, being up two, take a charge with 30 seconds left, and so whatever, man."