Update, 11:45 p.m. ET:
In what may herald an exciting series, Game 1 of the NBA Finals went into overtime Thursday night. But the Warriors ran away from the Cavaliers in the final five minutes, winning 108-100.
Cleveland’s LeBron James nearly matched the output of Golden State’s “Splash Brothers” all by himself, putting up 44 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists to guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s 47 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. But it wasn’t enough to take home-court advantage from the Warriors.
Andre Igoudala added 15 points off 6-8 shooting off the bench for Golden State while defending James through much of crunch time.
Kyrie Irving, who was second on the Cavaliers with 23 points, kept the Warriors from taking the game in regular time, sneaking in behind league MVP Stephen Curry to block what appeared to be an easy layup. The Cavaliers got two rushed opportunities on the final possession but were unable to score.
Irving limped off the court during the overtime period, just after Golden State used a Harrison Barnes three-pointer to take a seven-point lead and finally wrest control of the game.
Game 2 will be played at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday in Oakland, Calif., before moving to Cleveland for the next two games. The series is being broadcast by ABC.
In Oakland, the long pro basketball season opens its final act tonight as the NBA finals get under way. Tip off is 9:00 PM Eastern time. ABC has the telecast. The best-of-seven series pits the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and features two of the leagues biggest superstars, Stephen Curry of the Warriors and LeBron James of the Cavs. Curry is the reigning MVP; James has won it four times. As the San Jose Mercury News puts it:
“The Warriors look to end a miserable 40-year wait for their second West Coast championship by capping off what’s already been a franchise record-setting season. Cleveland hasn’t had a major professional championship in 51 years, and now the hometown hero James is only four wins away from delivering one for the Cavaliers.”
Sub-plots abound in the much-anticipated series. NPR’s Tom Goldman reports for our newscast unit that one key is the health of a pair of injured guards:
“Golden State guard Klay Thompson has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in his last game. Thompson often scores bushels of baskets like his back court running mate Steph Curry. For Cleveland, point guard Kyrie Irving continues to deal with knee and foot injuries which could effect how much time he’s on the court. Still, Irving insists he’ll will himself to play.”