LeBron James dropped 44 points on the Golden State Warriors in a losing effort in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night. The Cleveland Cavaliers forced overtime, but only made one bucket in the five-minute period, falling 108-100.
Warriors forward Harrison Barnes seemed content with letting James score that much, as long as he did not also have a ton of assists.
“You definitely take the 44 with not as many assists,” Barnes told reporters on Friday. “As opposed to him getting 25 and 10 assists, and then J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Dellavedova, those guys having big games. So we’re forcing him to be a scorer. You kind of let him do that and try to limit everybody else.”
James fired back.
“First of all, you don’t let me have 40,” James told NBC Sports. “I go get 40. It’s not like they’re just getting out of the way. So those guys aren’t saying we’re okay with letting him have 40. You don’t let me have 40; I’m making those shots.”
If it were not for a last-second missed shot as regulation expired, the Warriors would not have been so content with James’ scoring. However, the Cavaliers will need someone other than James to step up if they want to avoid being swept.