I am certainly not going to pretend to believe this might’ve significantly changed the trajectory of the series, but it’s also not nothing: LeBron James reportedly played the last three games of the Finals with a busted-up hand after he punched a black board following Cleveland’s world-historic boner of a loss in Game 1:
There were signs that something might’ve happened in the locker room after Game 1. Reporters noted at the time that the Cavs locker room was closed off for a longer-than-normal stretch, although no one would’ve been especially surprised at the time if it’d turned out that LeBron required privacy in order to murder by hand several of his teammates. Then LeBron showed up to Game 2 with noticeably loose handles. So far as I can tell no one attributed this to a potential injury, and his hand was obviously never so screwed up that he couldn’t play, and pretty well, and anyway nothing short of replacing his teammates with actual Monstars was going to raise these awful Cavs over those unstoppable Warriors.
Never a great idea to punch a black board! On the other hand, if you should find yourself playing a series of basketball games against the Golden State Warriors, and you lose the first game of that series on what for all purposes is an act of sabotage, and what you want to do more than anything is punch a damn black board, go ahead and punch a damn black board, for surely you are already dead.