2018 NBA Finals Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers 114-124 Golden State Warriors - 5 Talking Points
In one of the best games of the 2018 NBA playoffs, the Cavaliers almost had the Warriors beaten before succumbing to a 10-point defeat in overtime. Despite a monster outing from LeBron James, the Cavaliers ran out of gas by the end of regulation and got outscored 17-7 in the extra period. This was perhaps their best chance to win a game at the Oracle Arena, which had hundreds of unsold seats left over this time around.
Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson each had over 24 points, while Draymond Green finished an assist shy of another postseason triple-double. It is hard to imagine the Warriors dropping another game in the manner that they were so close to doing against this iteration of the Cavaliers.
Most of it can be put down to the absence of Iguodala from the starting lineup. Kevon Looney had a lackluster game for the most part, and Steve Kerr had David West, JaVale McGee and Jordan Bell all on the floor for periods longer than we're used to seeing in these playoffs.
Let's take a look at the 5 talking points from this game:
#1 LeBron James scores a playoff career high in points
LeBron James now has a 1-8 record in Game 1s of NBA Finals. The latest defeat in a sequence of 7 successive losses comes on the back of an outing which was 10/10 even by LeBron standards.
James scored 51 points on just 32 shots, with a field goal accuracy of 59.4%. His previous playoff career-high was a 49-point game against the Brooklyn Nets in the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
On this night, James was just unstoppable. He continuously forced switches from the Golden State defense, and he avoided coverages by Durant this way. Mostly, he took Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Shaun Livingston apart off the dribble, and he even started out hot from the 3-point line.
His constant scoring punch allowed the Cleveland Cavaliers to stage a comeback in the 4th quarter after getting outplayed in the 3rd.