It must be said that Smith's blunder nearly completely overshadowed the mistakes of Golden State's Kevin Durant, who allowed Smith to grab the offensive rebound, and Cleveland's George Hill, who could have given the Cavaliers the lead by making his second free throw (after hitting the first attempt).
While Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said after the game that Smith thought Cleveland had the lead, Smith told reporters that he knew the game was tied and was waiting for someone to call a timeout. "We're in the fight now".
The Warriors got off to a nice start in the third quarter, as they looked ready for one of their patented third-quarter takeovers. "We know they are going to come out with a lot of energy and we have to be better". "To do what he did tonight and come out robbed, it's just not right".
"My eye has been better". "So I'll deal with that over the next couple days".
James was visibly bemused and frustrated following Smith's error and the Cavaliers never recovered.
"I thought I read that play just as well as I read any play in my career, defensively", he said. "I've got a sore ligament". "I'm happy for him". Kevin Durant added 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks, while Klay Thompson scored 24 points.
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In 2015, when Golden State beat the Cavs to capture the franchise's first title in 40 years, the first two games of the series went to overtime - Golden State winning the opener and Cleveland winning Game 2. "In the finals, anything is liable to happen".
Rather than gain possession with a two-point lead and time on their side, the Cavs had to watch on as Durant hit both free throws to draw the home team level. "And the rest is history". Familiarity is quickly breeding contempt.
JR Smith's mind-boggling blunder in the final seconds of Game 1 of the NBA Finals likely cost the Cavaliers the game, and one photo shows that his decision might have been even worse than it initially appeared.
"That's what the playoffs are about - toughness, energy and grit". Without him, the Warriors lost and went on to drop three in a row and the finals, becoming the first team to squander a 3-1 finals lead.
"It wasn't really a verbal altercation", Green said. "There's going to be chatter", Curry said later, in a calmer moment. "Glad he's on my team".