The end of regulation from Game 1 of the NBA Finals is the moment that won’t die.
Unless something truly dramatic transpires before the series is over, it’s likely the lasting memory from this championship series.
LeBron James didn’t even know Game 1 video existed
LeBron James, who famously takes a break from social media during the playoffs, apparently hasn’t been aware of just how big the moment was.
A reporter asked James about what he was thinking in the extended video that showed James and his teammates sulking on the bench in the aftermath of regulation’s final moments and James appearing incredulous after asking head coach Tyronn Lue about the time out situation.
This is heartbreaking! Long uncut footage of LeBron, JR Smith & George Hill after Smith's mistake in Game 1. pic.twitter.com/MplQoAkk0a
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 4, 2018
James wasn’t aware that the video even existed and hesitated to delve back into Game 1 before giving the question some thought.
“It went viral?” James asked. “Damn cameras,” he continued, with a smile on his face. “I haven’t seen it. I’m not on social media right now.
“You’re taking me back to Game 1? I finally got Game 1 out of my head. You’re taking me back, huh? OK. OK. Let me put myself back there.”
James then went into James-recall mode and gave what seemed a vivid transcription of what was going through his head in that moment after George Hill missed a go-ahead free throw and J.R. Smith dribbled out most of the remaining 4.7 seconds in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
“I was sitting on the bench and kind of just contemplating the last couple seconds of what just happened from J.R. dribbling the ball out to G-Hill missing the free throw, actually seeing Draymond (Green) step in early on the lane violation, asking myself did I have a lane to actually drive it,” James said. “So, there were a lot of things playing through my head.”
James wanted to avoid Chris Webber time out situation
As for that moment on the bench where he asked Lue about the timeout situation? He said he was worried about having a Chris Webber incident, referring to the 1993 NCAA championship game where Webber called a time out Michigan didn’t have and got assessed a technical foul in the waning seconds of a loss to North Carolina.
“I actually tried to call timeout,” he said. “I believe it was Ed Malloy that was right there, our referee. I don’t know if I had enough time because I was kind of a little bit still in shock of what was going on at that point in time. I got to the bench, first thing that came to my mind I was like, ‘OK, I was calling a timeout.’ But hopefully, I’m glad maybe if we didn’t have any, I’m glad they didn’t give it to me. I didn’t want another C-Webb incident. If that happened, then they go to make their free throws and the game is over.”
“I asked out coaching staff if we had a time out, and they told me yes. I guess y’all probably seen the reaction from that point on. Knowing we had an opportunity to have another possession with the offensive rebound. It was just a heartbreaking loss.”
James not fazed by criticism of teammate interaction
When informed of the criticism he took on social media for not trying to lift up his teammates spirits, James responded like a human being playing with fellow professionals who has spent most of his career raising the level of his teammates.
“Me? Me being criticized? No,” James joked. “You’re saying I got criticized for something, right? I don’t believe that. Not me.
“I don’t care. I don’t care at all. I mean, we’re in the NBA Finals. How much more picking up of teammates do you want me to do? I’m in the NBA Finals, looking for a championship.”
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