By Griffin Finch
Game One of Golden State versus Cleveland chapter four will go down as a true classic. For 48 minutes it was back and forth with Cleveland looking like the superior team but only by a small margin. The reason it seemed so evenly matched primarily because when J.R. Smith and Klay Thompson got tangled up in the first quarter, Thompson’s knee was hurt and required him to prematurely head to the locker room for examination. Fortunately, he was able to return in the second quarter but he clearly was not himself until after halftime. The other, more important reason for the game being closer than it probably should have been was the fact that Andre Iguodala was out due to an injury to his knee. Iguodala typically is the Warriors primary defender on LeBron James who had his way on the court.
Through the second quarter the Warriors battled back from what was at one point an eleven point lead. By the end of the half the score was tied at 56 due to Stephen Curry hitting a long three pointer after J.R. Smith gambled trying to make a steal on a pass to Curry leaving him wide open to tie the score. That basket gave the Warriors a lot of confidence and momentum going into the third quarter. This extreme level of confidence combined with the fact that they are already the best third quarter team in the league lead to Cleveland getting blitzed to start half leading to Golden State jumping out to a 66-59 lead three minutes into the half. At that point it looked as if the Warriors were going to try and put the game away but Cleveland showed resiliency and made counter runs every time the Warriors jumped ahead. This back and forth action continued until the very end of the fourth quarter. With 4.7 seconds left and down by one, Klay Thompson was called for a holding foul which sent George Hill to the free throw line with a chance to go up by one. Hill sank the first free throw and missed the second. However, the Cavaliers catch a break and J.R. Smith gets an offensive rebound with seconds left and the game on the line. Smith caught the ball in the paint and instead of going up to try and win he dribbles the ball out near half court. This massive blunder cost the Cavs a good look and were forced to take a bad shot which Draymond Green was able to block. With that, the game was tied at 107 and going into overtime.
After Smith effectively cost Cleveland there chances at winning in overtime the Cavs seemed to already be defeated. This mindset would lead to the onslaught put on by the Warriors for the next several minutes. Golden State scored the first 9 points of the overtime period and with 2:14 left in the game it was already over. Cleveland is able to score 7 points in overtime but the Warriors were able to score 17 before the last bit of drama unfolded. With 2.6 seconds left and the game all but over Tristan Thompson commits a flagrant two foul on Shaun Livingston leading to his ejection. Livingston went on to make both free throws and end the game with a final score of 124-114.