Round one between the new-look Warriors and the defending champion Cavaliers went to Cleveland, 109-108, with the knockout blow once again delivered by Kyrie Irving, who drove Klay Thompson into the paint with four seconds left before spinning around and getting an improbable fadeaway jumper to just kiss off the inside of the rim.
It was the culmination of a 14-point fourth quarter comeback by the Cavs, who looked like they might be run out of their own building on Christmas Day after a quick burst of points from Kevin Durant at the beginning of the period. But Cleveland whittled the lead down and then theatrically snatched it back with a series of absolute posterizations, two of which came from the creaky Richard Jefferson, who got a technical for winking at Durant after jamming on his head just before turning Klay Thompson into a chalk outline:
A few minutes after that, LeBron James temporarily gave the Cavs a two-point lead after catching a dish from Irving and crashing onto the unsuspecting bodies of Durant and Draymond Green:
It was nearly a triumphant ending for Steph Curry, who shot just 4-11 from the field but cashed a fast-break three-pointer with 1:14 left to put the Warriors up 108-105. On Cleveland’s next possession down, Curry then clean-stripped Irving but was unable to corral the ball. After a scramble, an Irving layup brought the Cavs to within one, and then after a Golden State shot clock violation, Irving was able to sink the twisting game-winner.
The Warriors could have won the game on its final possession, but—depending on your rooting interests here—Durant either tripped or was tripped by Richard Jefferson as he looked for a shot, leading him to throw the ball up at the hoop from his ass as the clock wasted away.
These two teams see each other again in about three weeks, and then, god willing, in June.