LeBron: Cavs' loss to Warriors one of my most painful
LeBron James admitted the Cleveland Cavaliers' game-one loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals was one of the toughest of his illustrious career.
The Cavaliers suffered a 124-114 overtime defeat to reigning champions the Warriors in Thursday's Finals opener.
James starred with 51 points but his heroics were not enough after JR Smith's late error contributed to Cleveland's defeat on the road in Oakland.
With the score tied 107-107 with 4.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, George Hill missed his second free throw but Smith grabbed the offensive rebound – and seemingly unaware of the scoreboard – he ran the ball out past the three-point line and attempted to run out the clock.
James – who was visibly frustrated – and his Cavs team-mates urged Smith to turn around and attack the basket however it was too late as time expired before the Warriors outscored the visitors 17-7 in OT.
Reflecting on the loss ahead of Sunday's game two, three-time NBA champion James told reporters on Saturday: "It's one of the toughest losses I've had in my career as well because of everything that kind of went on with the game and the way we played.
"It was a tough 24 hours not only for [George] Hill and for myself but for our whole ballclub because we put ourselves in a great position to be successful."
James added: "It's a new day. For me, I woke up feeling excited about the opportunity for us to get better today, excited about the opportunity that presents itself tomorrow.
"You give yourself a day. If you need to take two days, OK, but today you should feel excited about the opportunity to be better and be great and move forward."