Elsewhere, official Tony Brothers offered an explanation regarding Tristan Thompson's ejection with 2.6 seconds remaining in overtime after he was assessed a flagrant-2 for elbowing Shaun Livingston. Then George Hill missing the potential game-winning free throw - and J.R. Smith gets the offensive rebound in a tie game with 4.7 seconds left and doesn't shoot or pass to the wide-open LeBron and instead tries to dribble out the clock.
Lue first said Smith thought the Cavs were ahead, and later clarified to cleveland.com that he hadn't spoken with Smith.
And why not? Both these teams were pushed to their limits in seven-game conference finals they each had to win on the road.
Upon review on Thursday night, the game crew determined that James wasn't in full legal guarding position.
James shot 19 for 32 to go with eight assists and eight rebounds in the opener of his eighth straight NBA Finals and ninth overall, as well as Cavs-Warriors Take IV.
"Obviously James is going to have to be great. and they are going to have to be lights out from the three-point line to have a chance to win a game", said Van Gundy.
James has willed his Cavs this far, saying, "I don't know how I can compare it to other seasons because I can only think about this one in the present".More news: Nashville prepares for 3rd visit from President Trump amidst Blackburn fundraiser
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James referenced a postgame interview with ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth from March, when he declared he felt the best he has in his entire career, to illustrate the reason for his extended prime.
"LeBron's one of those guys that in order for you to be great like that, you've got to do it, day after day after day", Durant said.
"He thought it was over", Lue said.
After collecting the rebound, J.R ran the ball out to beyond the three point line where a screaming LeBron James was waiting and telling him to shoot. Do the math and this year's series marks the first "fourmatch". I think he has the ability to make shots, to make timely shots, to make deep shots and to make momentum changing shots. The Rockets missed all 14 3-point attempts in that quarter as part of a 1-for-21 second half from long range. Stephen Curry dances and shimmies after made 3s.
"He doesn't have to be the Finals MVP, he's already left his imprint on the game", Crawford said on The Jump. With his 293rd career 3 in the playoffs, made in the second quarter, Thompson passed Kobe Bryant (292) for sixth place on the NBA's list for postseason 3s.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr remembers watching the last Miami-San Antonio title matchup in 2014 when the Spurs basically dared James to shoot the ball from the perimeter by sliding under every screen the Heat would set for him.
Back home, fireworks went off in the East Bay as everyone anticipates another battle with King James.