Oakland (United States) (AFP) – Cleveland's LeBron James, known for bouncing harder from playoff defeats, promises such heroics on Sunday in the NBA Finals after what he calls one of the defeats hardest of his career.
Defending Champion Golden State opened the championship series to best of seven with a home win of 124-114 on Thursday after the Cavaliers led in the final seconds.
Referees reversed a lack of charge over Warriors forward Kevin Durant in a video review in a foul foul on James in the final minute of regulation time and JR Smith of Cleveland squandered a last chance in the fourth quarter apparently without knowing that the score was equal.
"It's one of the hardest defeats I've had in my career." James said on Saturday. "Because of everything that happened with the game and the way we played.
" It was about 24 difficult hours … for our entire club because we placed ourselves in an excellent position to succeed. " James scored 51 points, he grabbed eight rebounds and gave eight badists, his highest total of shots in an NBA game since 1993 and the most loss.
But far from being demoralized, James said he was energized by the possibility of leveling the series before the scene changes to Cleveland next week in the fourth consecutive final between the two clubs.
"You should be excited about the opportunity to be better and be great and move forward," James said. Excited by the opportunity that presents itself tomorrow.
"I hope we come to play with the same strength we had in game one, and we made a lot of mistakes in game one, we hope to be better."
The improvements after the defeats have become a James' trademark in the playoffs. Four times after producing less than 27 points in a loss after this year's season, James has scored 42 or more in the following contest.
But where are you going from 51 points?
"That means you have to score 60 now, right?" Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said of James "Well, I have to score 60 tomorrow, so I guess.
"After a loss, it's difficult, but I think he always comes out and leads by example and sets the tone early, I think, offensively, we need him to do that, especially on this floor with his audience and the way he We need you to set the tone early in every game. "
-" Animosity and nervousness "-
Stephen Curry, who led the Warriors with 29 points in the first game, says his team will be more aggressive in keeping James from comfortable situations.
"We have to be a little more aggressive," Curry said. "It just means doing things a little faster, a little more physically, and trying to do not just him, but everyone else feels more uncomfortable to start the game, I think we can do that."
Draymond Green hit James in the right eye during a walk to the basket that the Cavs player says looks worse than it hurts.
"There's going to be a bit of animosity and a" We're enjoying the competitive environment. "
– Cavs' big efforts are expected –
A win on Sunday would put the Warriors halfway to their third crown in four seasons, the other one refused when Cleveland recovered from 3-1 in the biggest comeback in the history of the NBA Finals.
"They could have deflated, and they came back and won. So we expect another big effort from them, "said Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
" We've been through this many times. All we have done is win one, and we continue with the next one.
"We are right where we want to be and we are all confident that we will improve from here."
Kerr, who said that Warriors forward Andre Iguodala still doubts the second game with a left leg injury , said limiting James would be a priority.
"I did not think we would make him work hard enough, it was easy for him," Kerr said. "We have to put more pressure on him, we can not just sit down and let him take us away."