In a neck-and-neck Game 1, it looked multiple times like the Cavs were going to steal a win on the road against the Warriors. After heading into the half all tied at 56, then weathering the Warriors’ trademark third-quarter onslaught, LeBron James gave his team the lead with under a minute to play on a sheer force-of-will and-one drive to the basket. It was possibly his final moment of happiness for the rest of the series.
With the Cavs up 104-102, LeBron appeared to make an equally huge play on the other end of the floor by drawing a charge on Kevin Durant. But after a lengthy review by the officials, the charge was reversed into a block. If this call had held up, Cleveland would have had the ball with 36 seconds to go, up two. Instead, because we live in an advanced technological age that apparently allows us to determine that this is definitely, indisputably a block and not a charge, Durant made both free throws and tied it.
And yet somehow, squinting at slow-mo video of LeBron’s feet wasn’t the most soul-crushing Cavalier moment of the final minute. After another LeBron two, and a Steph Curry three point play, George Hill found himself at the line down by one with 4.7 seconds to play, shooting two shots with a chance for the win. He made the first, missed the second, then J.R. Smith forgot the game was tied. He held the ball, didn’t call time, and let the game go to OT while expecting a victory.
Medieval Catholic hell couldn’t torture LeBron James more than these five seconds:
The Warriors opened overtime with nine unanswered points, then won 124-114. LeBron scored 51, the most of his playoff career.