BY CHRIS LEWIS
Game 1 of the NBA Finals had a lot of everything. Throughout the Finals, I’m going to give you my quick reactions in written form. For my expanded takes, listen to Idaho Sports Talk at 1 p.m.
“The call” – The key play of the game was the blocking foul on LeBron James that was initially called a charge on Kevin Durant. ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and Brian Windhorst each mentioned after the game that they have never seen Ty Lue and the Cavs so upset. Lue mentioned that the Cavs were robbed, and I agree. Not only did I think it was a charge on Durant in real time, the process that they used to change the call was silly. LeBron was clearly outside the restricted area, but they used that trigger to go to the replay and then determined that the on-court judgment call of a charge was incorrect. Again, you aren’t allowed to go to the monitor unless there’s a question as to whether he was in the restricted area. Once that is triggered, then you can the replay to litigate the block/charge aspect. It’s a silly rule. How far outside the restricted area does LeBron have to be to eliminate the restricted area trigger? Foul line? Three-point line? Lue’s anger is justified.
J.R. Smith – My favorite image from this game was LeBron giving the “This fool…” look to Smith after he lost his mind to end regulation. I’m one of those guys who always knows the score in a pick-up game, so he’s getting no sympathy from me about blanking on the score during the NBA Finals. The most JR Smith moment of all-time. And, he’s set quite the high bar of ridiculousness. This is the same dude who threw a bowl of soup at a coach (which barely cracks the top 5 of crazy NBA stories this season). His mind is a dangerous place, highlighted by his wonky postgame explanation on what happened.
Possible Suspensions – Please, don’t be that guy who roots for suspensions. Those are the corniest people on the planet. People actually root for the best players in the world to miss a Finals game on a technicality. Tristian Thompson gave a shove to Draymond Green near the end of the game, but it was referee Tony Brothers allowing a bunch of nothing at the end of the game to escalate into a scuffle. That same sequence, Kevin Love took a couple steps on the court from the bench. That’s a known no-no, but certainly not worth the NBA docking him a game.
LeBron – It’s crazy that LeBron went for 51-8-8 and it likely won’t make the first two paragraphs of most game recaps. James at one point had 31 points on 13 shots, which seems impossible. I don’t understand how some people watch him play basketball and pretend they aren’t watching one of the greatest players ever. His level of play right now might be the highest of his career. His command of the game and efficiency is off the charts. Most “experts” gave the Cavs no chance to win the series. We should be beyond the point where any team with LeBron on it is given no chance. We absolutely saw a blueprint for the Cavs to be competitive and possibly win the series.
Chris Lewis, the play-by-play voice of Boise State women’s basketball and Olympic Sports, co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk with Bob & Chris weekdays from 1-3 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket. He can be found @ChrisLewisTweet (Twitter).