(Reuters) - LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers promised to “make some adjustments” after several missed opportunities cost them Game One of the NBA Finals to the host Golden State Warriors on Thursday, losing 108-100 in overtime.
James scored a team-high 44 points, his most ever in a Finals game, but felt he had not communicated efficiently enough with his team mates as he shot only 18 of 38 from the floor.
“We all have to be better, including myself,” said James, a four-time league MVP who missed a long jump shot with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation that would likely have earned his team victory at a sellout Oracle Arena in Oakland.
”I don’t think I was great. I’ve got to do better things out on the floor to help us be more precise offensively. I’ve got to communicate a little bit more defensively to help our team get over the hump.
“We had so many opportunities to win this game, and we didn‘t. It’s up to us now to look at the film, watch and make some adjustments... and be ready for Sunday (Game Two).”
James, who is back in the NBA Finals for a fifth consecutive year, was a frustrated figured after his team were outscored 10-2 by the Warriors in overtime.
“We really only had zero points as I got the lay-up at the end, but that didn’t mean much because they did a good job closing it in overtime,” he said.
“We had a few miscues defensively, had a couple of turnovers offensively, but we were right there. They just made a couple more plays than we made.”
Defeat in front of raucous Golden State fans was soured even further for Cleveland when their inspirational All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving limped off the court during overtime after an awkward fall.
Irving, who missed two games of the Eastern Conference final due to an ailing left knee, had been in dazzling form for his team at both ends of the court with 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
”It was very tough to see,“ said James. ”I just see how hard he worked these last eight days just to get himself to play at this level tonight.
“Seeing him walk out of the locker room on crutches just now, that’s a tough blow for our team.”
The Cavaliers later said in a statement that Irving would have an MRI on Friday and continue to be evaluated by their medical team.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly