NBA insider: LeBron’s 2018 Finals Game 1 might be best game I’ve ever seen anybody play

4 Min Read

ESPN’s Zach Lowe believes that LeBron James’ performance for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals might’ve been the best basketball game that anyone has ever played in NBA history.

James and the Cavs went on to lose that game, but the NBA’s all-time leading scorer was magnificent. He finished the game with 51 points on 19-of-32 shooting from the field (3-for-7 from 3-point range), eight rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one block.

The Golden State Warriors ended up winning the game by outscoring the Cavs 17-7 in overtime to win 124-114.

“I’ve said this before, Game 1 of the 2018 Finals, which was the J.R. Smith forgets the score game, in a series that the Cavs got swept in and were drawing dead against maybe the greatest team ever assembled – not as good as the year before but the same general team – the Warriors, LeBron had 51, eight and eight on 19 of 32 shooting in that game,” Lowe said.

“And the Warriors were throwing everything at him. Draymond [Green], [Andre] Iguodala, switches, doubles – I don’t say this lightly, and I am 46 so I did not some of the greats in the ’70s and early ’80s play in a serious – I wasn’t seriously observing them. Even when I was a kid growing up, it’s not like I was breaking down Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and stuff like that. That might be the best basketball game I’ve ever seen anybody play, considering the opposition, the stakes, all of it – the team he was facing. And there are people within the Warriors who would agree to that.”

Even though James and the Cavs did not have as much talent as the Warriors, who had Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Green, Iguodala and others on their team, James kept the team close in Game 1.

Unfortunately, Smith had an epic blunder at the end of regulation that didn’t allow the Cavs to get up a final shot.

With 4.7 seconds left and the Cavs trailing 107-106, guard George Hill was fouled on a cut to the basket, which sent him to the free-throw line for two shots.

Hill ended up making the first free throw, but he missed the second attempt.

Smith made a tremendous play to get the offensive rebound, but instead of going up with the ball or passing to a teammate that could attempt a shot, the Cavs guard dribbled the ball out towards half court.

It appeared that Smith was trying to run out the clock, thinking that the Cavs were up one point instead of tied.

Cleveland didn’t end up getting a good look at the rim because of Smith’s blunder, and the team then went on to lose in overtime.

Even in the loss, there’s no doubt that James had an amazing game. Kevin Love and Smith were the only two Cavs who scored in double figures besides James in that game, yet Cleveland was able to hang with a team that had several All-Stars on the roster.

For comparison, Thompson, Durant and Curry all scored 24 or more points in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals for Golden State.

While Cavs fans may have a hard time looking back on the 2018 Finals as a positive series because of the result, Lowe at least offers a consolation prize with his thoughts on James’ performance.

Share This Article
Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.