Warriors don’t want to need luck to get Game 2 win over Cavs – Boisar Marathi News

Warriors don’t want to need luck to get Game 2 win over Cavs

To reach their fourth straight NBA Finals, the Warriors benefited from plenty of good fortune.

They beat the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs in the first round before getting by the DeMarcus Cousins-less Pelicans in the Western Conference semifinals. Had Chris Paul not missed Games 6 and 7 with a hamstring injury, Golden State might not have survived the Rockets in the West finals.

Late Thursday, after escaping Oracle Arena with a 124-114 overtime win over the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Warriors forward Draymond Green conceded that, “Sometimes, you need a little luck.” On a night it got bullied by LeBron James, Golden State had required several questionable calls to go its way and a mental blunder from J.R. Smith that will long live in professional sports infamy.

Now, as they prepare for Game 2 on Sunday, the Warriors are intent on making sure that they won’t need such good fortune to take a 2-0 series lead. Though Golden State is thankful for its Game 1 larceny, it realizes that it must be better moving forward to hoist its third Larry O’Brien trophy in four years.

“We came into this series knowing what we’re up against,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ve seen this team three years in a row, and we’ve had these amazing battles with them. Everybody else was saying it’s going to be easy. We weren’t the ones.”

To win this series as a steep underdog, Cleveland has a slim margin of error. That it let one of James’ all-time great performances — a 51-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist demolition — go to waste Thursday was heartbreaking enough. Knowing that the defeat was rooted in factors largely out of the Cavaliers’ control only made it tougher to process.

In the final minute of regulation, after Kevin Durant was called for a charge on a drive to the rim with Cleveland up 104-102, officials reviewed whether James — Durant’s defender on the play — was in the restricted area. It was then that they saw that James was clearly moving at the moment of contact and changed the call to a block.

As Durant hit both ensuing free throws to tie the game, the Cavaliers were left to wonder: Had the referees only said they were reviewing whether James was in the restricted area to see whether they had correctly called a charge?

James drove back down court and was hit on a layup he made, but no foul was called. Moments later, after George Hill missed a free throw with 4.7 seconds left and the game knotted at 107-107, Smith corralled the offensive rebound. Instead of getting up a shot, he dribbled toward midcourt. A TV camera caught Smith telling James after the final buzzer sounded, “I thought we were up.”

Cleveland was forced to face yet another what-if when the league released its review Friday afternoon of Game 1’s final two minutes. Per the NBA, Green should have been called for a lane violation on that missed free-throw attempt by Hill with 4.7 seconds remaining.

“This one hurt,” said Hill, who could barely sleep Thursday night as the memory of that missed foul shot raced through his mind. “This one hurt bad with a lot of things that went on.”

In the wake of Golden State’s stunning Game 1 win, many began writing the Cavaliers’ obituary on social media. The logic was simple: If Cleveland couldn’t capitalize on one of James’ most masterful performances, how could it expect to shock the world four times and dethrone the defending champions?

What those critics failed to acknowledge, however, is that the Cavaliers have made a habit of beating long odds. To reach the sport’s summit for a fourth consecutive year, they overcame the loss of their All-Star point guard a month before training camp, a roster overhaul at the trade deadline and a midseason health-related leave of absence by their head coach, Tyronn Lue.

“Listen, we’re not broken, all right?” Lue said. “We lost a game. You’ve got to win four in the series. We understand that. It was a tough game for us. We played well enough to win, but we didn’t. Now we’ve got to move on.”

The same goes for the Warriors.

Kerr is mapping out new ways to make life more difficult on James even if Andre Iguodala, who is considered doubtful for Game 2 after missing the past five games with a bone bruise in his left knee, isn’t available on Sunday. Though he didn’t offer specifics, Kerr probably wants to cut down on the number of times James attacks Stephen Curry or Kevon Looney on an island off pick-and-rolls.

Golden State also hopes to be much better on the boards. In Game 1, it was outrebounded 53-38, including 19-4 on the offensive glass. No missed box-out was more glaring than the one that freed up Smith to leap by Durant for an offensive rebound after Hill’s missed foul shot late in regulation.

“Game 1 is over with,” Klay Thompson said. “We have to have it in the back of our minds that we want to protect home court. And if we don’t take care of business Sunday, we obviously lose that advantage.”

Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @Con_Chron