IF you score only two points in any five-minute basketball overtime, you ought to lose.
That’s what happened to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 yesterday of the best-of-seven NBA Finals.
The Cavs got blanked in the first four minutes and 51 seconds of overtime and paid the price, dropping a 108-100 decision to the Golden State Warriors.
Blame it on the Cavs, who missed their first 12 attempts in the extension in a horrific fold-up never before seen—and happening yet in an NBA Finals.
All too suddenly, like a flood-causing, thunderstorm-fueled downpour that caught urbanites flatfooted, Cleveland couldn’t shoot properly.
It was a Cav collapse created by a cacophony of ironies punctuated by Cleveland shots fired wildly from all over.
One kept asking: Are they in a round-robin so that shot selection signifies nothing but merely going through the motions of it?
But this is not to say the Warriors did nothing significant to grab a 1-0 headstart, gunning up their burning desire to end a 40-year title drought in the world’s biggest basketball stage.
They unleashed a suffocating defense in the entire five-minute overtime, only allowing LeBron James to score the Cavs’ lone basket with 9 ticks or so remaining—when the game’s outcome was Warrior property already.
James jammed in a game-high 44 points, but even if he had scored half of his team’s total, Cleveland would have lost still.
The rest of his teammates, save for Kyrie Irving, were not in the game, except in the first quarter when the Cavs built a 29-19 lead, stretching the margin to 14 for Cleveland’s biggest lead early in the second quarter.
But the Warriors waxed hot in the middle quarters, when only James could respond to almost every Golden State shot fired. After a third-quarter tie at 73 and the regulation score at 98-all, it was Warrior way all the way in overtime.
Stephen Curry scored “only” 26 points, but the reigning NBA MVP delivered the go-ahead points in overtime 102-98, inspiring his teammates to join the uprising as Barnes-Iguodala-Green combined for a killer 6-0 blast for a 108-98 bubble, only mere ticks left in the game.
If James becomes another virtual Lone Ranger in Game 2, woe to the Cavs.
They ought to lose. Again.