LeBron James dropped 51 points in a losing effort. Stephen Curry continued playing what might be the best basketball of his career. J.R. Smith made what might be the worst mistake in NBA Finals history.
Yes, Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers was one for the books. Despite all of this, most of the talk following Golden State’s 124-114 overtime victory surrounds this questionable foul call late in the fourth quarter against LeBron.
1) the Warriors got pretty lucky that the refs reviewed the charge and overturned it
2) Kevin Durant starting his dribble from 35 feet out and driving is not the offense to run at this juncture of the game pic.twitter.com/82VH0r0dK3
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 1, 2018
With Cleveland up two points and just over 30 seconds remaining in regulation, Kevin Durant was initially called for a charge. Upon further review, officials on hand at Oracle overturned said call. James was handed a blocking foul with Durant making two shots to tie the game up.
Ultimately, a horrible mistake from J.R. Smith in the minutes following this dramatic turn of events forced overtime. Golden State would go on to run Cleveland off the court in that extra stanza to take a 1-0 series lead.
In talking about that sequence at the end of regulation, disgraced former NBA official Tim Donaghy has an interesting stance. The NBA should replay the final 60 seconds of the fourth quarter.
“I think they did (blow the game). They set a rule aside. In the past five years, there have been games where they went back to the point of interruption to where a rule was missed, and they replayed that final minute,” Donaghy told TMZ Sports. “And this is a situation in which I think a rule was set aside and misplaced, and they should do that.”
First off, it must be noted that Donaghy was sent to prison after spending 13 seasons as an NBA official. The reason? He bet on games.
In no way does this mean Donaghy doesn’t know the rules like the back of his own hand. He’s concluding that there was a difference of opinion between officials on the court. One indicated a charge on Durant, while another concluded it was a blocking foul on LeBron. If so, Donaghy states that it should have been a jump ball. Essentially, that’s correct.
Most had no idea that a rule was on the books that enables officials to review a judgment call. In this specific play, the officials were checking to see if LeBron was in the restricted area. He wasn’t. But upon reviewing the play, officials can look at other things happening on the court. LeBron was clearly moving to his left when Durant made contact, leading officials to call it a blocking foul against James.
It’s definitely up for interpretation.
Even then, it’s highly unlikely that the NBA will decide to replay the final 60 seconds of the game.
It did happen between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks back in 2007, but that was for a mere regular season game. Doing so in the Finals would create even more drama.