Though most NBA fans remember Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals for the incredible blunder that former Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith committed at the end of regulation, Andre Iguodala remembers it for LeBron James’ superhuman performance.
In fact, Iguodala recently said that James’ Game 1 outing in the 2018 NBA Finals stands as the best game he’s ever seen anyone play.
Given the years that Iguodala has been in the league and kinds of players that he’s both faced and teamed up with, it is quite the ringing endorsement.
“It is the best game I’ve seen in my life,” Iguodala said. “It was a perfect game.”
Iguodala missed that game with an injury, so he really could focus on what was taking place on the court. If he had been playing, there’s a good chance that he would have been one of the primary Golden State Warriors players tasked with trying to contain James.
During Game 1, James looked like the best player on the floor in a matchup that featured several future Hall of Famers. He finished with 51 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one block. He shot 59.4 percent from the field on 32 shots.
The truth is that NBA players and fans alike have fully come to expect these kinds of performances from James. Still, it is important to recognize how special a game like that is.
Unfortunately for James and the Cavs, his memorable night didn’t result in a win.
The Cavs had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but Smith failed to capitalize on a final possession with just a few seconds left on the clock. It’s one of the most infamous NBA Finals moments in recent memory.
The Cavs were already heavy underdogs in the series that year, and the demoralizing Game 1 loss seemed to all but guarantee that the Warriors would eventually win the series.
It didn’t take long. The Warriors won the next three games to complete a dominant four-game sweep over the Cavs. Game 4 of that series was the final game in which James put on a Cavs uniform. He left for the Los Angeles Lakers that summer.