JR Smith's massive gaffe at the end of regulation has gotten most of the headlines, and for good reason. It was one of the biggest blunders imaginable. However, it was not the only play that led to the Cavaliers' dramatic loss.
A few minutes before, the referees made a pretty controversial decision. Kevin Durant drove on LeBron James, and was initially called for a charge. The Cavaliers were up 104-102 with just over 36 seconds left.
It was a bang-bang play for sure. After the call, referees went to review the play, and wound up overturning it, calling a block of James and giving Durant two game-tying free throws.
Looking in slow motion, it is probably the right call. However, overturning it the way that they did is really brutal.
It wasn't the only call down the stretch that definitively went the Warriors way. There were a pair of pretty iffy reach in calls on James and George Hill, and an uncalled lane violation against the Warriors that Cavs fans are pointing out.
JR Smith isn't the only one catching flack; according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Cavs personnel had some choice words for referee Ken Mauer after the game.
All of these issues wound up wasting an all-time performance by LeBron James. He became the sixth player to score 50 points in the NBA Finals.
LeBron scored 51 points on just 32 shots. He also chipped in eight rebounds and eight assists.
After the game, both LeBron and head coach Tyronn Lue were critical of the refereeing, and specifically, that charge/block call. From ESPN:
"I read that play just as well as I've read any play in my career, maybe in my life," James said. "I [had] seen the play happening. I knew I was outside the charge line, and I knew I took the hit."
"LeBron was clearly 4 feet outside the restricted area," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. "So it doesn't make sense to go review something if -- the review is if he's on the line or if he's close to the charge circle, that's the review. He wasn't close."
Controversy aside, we were treated to an amazing game last night. Hopefully the way it ended doesn't derail the Cavaliers going forward.