Behind a 44-point showing from LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a terrific opportunity to upset the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals on Thursday night at Oracle Arena.
However, when James and Iman Shumpert both missed potential game-winning shots at the end of regulation, Cleveland strung together a forgettable overtime performance.
James and J.R. Smith misfired on three attempts each, while Kyrie Irving and Timofey Mozgov both missed a shot, too. Golden State had outscored the Cavs 10-0 before James made a layup with a mere eight seconds left in the contest.
That garbage-time bucket saved Cleveland from breaking an NBA Finals record it certainly wanted no part of holding: becoming the first team to fail to score a point in overtime.
two points is better than zero points don't let anyone tell you otherwise, @cavs
— Lana Berry (@Lana) June 5, 2015
According to Basketball-Reference.com, the only other team to score two points or fewer in overtime of an NBA Finals matchup was the 2004 Detroit Pistons. Richard Hamilton buried Detroit’s only field goal of the extra session, and the Los Angeles Lakers earned a 99-91 victory in Game 2.
Fortunately for Detroit, the loss was the team’s lone setback during that Finals. The Pistons torched Los Angeles 88-68 in Game 3, then sealed the championship with two more wins.
Cleveland faces an uphill battle in its quest to emulate that Detroit squad—especially if the Cavaliers are without Kyrie Irving, who limped off the court. His status is unknown at this time, but the outlook isn’t very promising.
Photo: USA Today Sports