The 2018 NBA Finals lived up to the hype through Game 1, although some seriously scandalous officiating cost the Cavaliers.
Four passes form the Cavs Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals.
1. Something’s not right here
Game 1 of the NBA Finals has some fans and writers recalling the story of ex-referee Tim Donaghy, who was banned from the NBA for fixing games.
When officiating gets so scandalous to the point Donaghy’s name is mentioned, well, that’s not good for business.
Officials were within the rules to change LeBron James’ charge call to a block.
OK. It was a charge though. How was he not in a legal guarding position. As ESPN’s referee analyst Steve Javie said on the telecast, “I do believe James was there prior to the upward motion of the shot.”
The suspicious thing here is the refs’ decision to look at it all.
Astronauts on the moon could’ve seen how far James was out of the restricted area.
That’s not enough, though.
Tristan Thompson got ejected, and I’m not really sure why yet, and on his way off the floor, he tried to shove the ball into Draymond Green’s barking yap.
Thompson could face a suspension for his actions.
Green on the other hand should’ve been called for taunting. He wasn’t. The officials were well aware that Draymond already had one technical. Another would’ve automatically suspended him for Game 2.
So with Ken Mauer’s refusal to ring him up with a T, Green paraded around Oracle taunting the Cavs until his heart was content without any repercussions.
2. What’s LeBron supposed to do at this point?
He scores 51 in one of the greatest Finals performances ever and has the Cavs in position to shock the world. Then the referees questionably look at a call. George Hill, an 80 percent free-throw shooter missed the go-ahead free throw and J.R. Smith forgets the score.
Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxson, Tony Kukoc. LeBron’s got….um…well…remember how awesome we all thought it was when Smith didn’t wear a shirt for a week after the 2016 win?
Beating the Warriors in Oracle is hard enough. When your mates aren’t at their best, you’re not just trying to climb out of a hole, you’re trying to escape the Grand Canyon.
3. What happened, JR?
Smith said he knew the score was tied after the game. Coach Ty Lue said Smith thought Cleveland was up one.
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Who do you believe?
Actions speak louder than words and what J.R. dribbling away from the basket tells you everything you need to know.
4. What’s next
There’s some good news to come out of Game 1. The Cavs played with the Warriors and put themselves in a position to win.
James had everything to do with that, but so did Kevin Love, who was assertive in the paint, scoring 21 points and grabbing 14 points. He was an ugly 1-of-9 from downtown, though.
Just think if makes two more shots from beyond the arc.
Smith had 10 and Larry Nance Jr. had nine. LeBron needs more help scoring the ball. It’s been the story of the postseason and it hasn’t changed.
Things are grimm in Cleveland and will be for two days until Sunday’s tip.
But if Cleveland finds a win to win Sunday, the mission will be complete. They’ll have stolen a game in Golden State and will be returning to the friendly confines of The Q.