Game 1 of the NBA Finals was a brutal loss for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
From the controversial late blocking foul on LeBron James to George Hill’s missed free throw to J.R. Smith’s boneheaded blunder running out the clock, it added up to a defeat some think the Cavs won’t recover from.
James, having had a couple of nights to sleep on the loss, spoke about its impact on himself and the team on Saturday. It doesn’t sound like it’s gotten much easier to process.
“We both went through some of the same emotions,” James said when asked about Hill’s response to the loss. “It’s one of the toughest losses I’ve had in my career, well, because of everything that kind of went on with the game and the way we played.
“Obviously, we all know what happened in the game. So it was a tough 24 hours not only for G Hill and for myself but for our whole ball club, because we put ourselves in a great position to be successful.”
James’ response Saturday was more reasoned and less raw than the post-game reaction Thursday night when he walked away from the podium after repeated questions about Smith’s mistake.
He does appear ready to move on, and implored his teammates to do the same through the media.
“But like I said, you give yourself a day — if you need to take two days, okay,” James said. “But today you should feel excited about the opportunity to be better and be great and move forward.”
Smith all but admitted on Saturday that he didn’t know the score during those final seconds of regulation after claiming that he did Thursday night, an admission that seems key to putting Game 1 in the past.
The only way the Cavaliers will be able to make it a competitive series with the Golden State Warriors is if they can put the demons of Game 1 in the past.
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