Speed Reads

NBA Finals

Warriors overcome LeBron James' 51 points, capitalize on J.R. Smith's flub, to win Game 1 of NBA Finals

LeBron James scored 51 points for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Thursday night, but it wasn't enough. The Golden State Warriors won in overtime, 124-114, after a drama-filled and entertaining start to the fourth straight Cavs-Warriors championship battle. Stephen Curry scored 29 points for the Warriors, Kevin Durant 26, and Klay Thompson 24, but the most memorable and consequential play was Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith dribbling the ball into overtime with 4.7 seconds left at the end of the fourth quarter, with the score tied and James looking on in disbelief.

Smith said after the game that despite speculation, he "knew we were tied, I thought we were going to call timeout. If I thought we were ahead, I'd have held onto the ball and let them foul me." But video footage and amateur lip-reading suggest otherwise:

James himself was agnostic on the question of whether Smith knew the game was tied.

In any case, James can take some comfort in his own masterful performance. Along with notching 51 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, this was his eighth 40-plus night in 19 playoff games this season, tying a record for most 40-point playoff games in a single year held by Jerry West. Game 2 is Sunday night in Oakland.