George Hill took the blame Friday for the Cavs’ stunning loss Thursday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
A career 80 percent free-throw shooter, Hill was at the line in Oakland with 4.7 seconds to play and his team down a point.
If he had made both of his free throws, maybe — maybe — the Cavaliers would have stolen homecourt advantage by downing the Warriors on their floor.
You know what happened: He made one. J.R. Smith rebounded the missed second free throw — and committed one of the biggest late-game blunders imaginable (and meme-able). The Cavs lost Game 1 in overtime, 124-114.
The play that decided Game 1. pic.twitter.com/e1UeOv57Rn
— ESPN (@espn) June 1, 2018
“Me not hitting the free throw, I feel like I cost our team the win,” Hill told reporters on a media conference call Friday.
He recounted the aftermath:
“I don’t think anything got me through the night. I stayed up most of the night re-watching the free throw, re-watching the play. Just going over it in my head what I think went wrong. As a player, competitive guy, put in a situation to help my team win a game, and I didn’t come through. So for me, it sucked. It was one of the worst feelings ever.
“But I have great teammates who have been in my ear, even last night and this morning, telling me to forget about it, continue to just focus on the next game and don’t let it linger. So it is what it is. I blew that opportunity, but the good thing is it’s a seven-game series and we have another game on Sunday.”
On the list of tough losses he’s had in his career, where does this one rank?
“I mean, this one’s probably number one,” Hill said. “This one hurt. This one hurt bad with a lot of things that went on. The charge getting reversed, the strip on (Kevin Durant), up two, me missing the free throw down the stretch. So this one had to hurt.
“I felt like the team did a great job. Put ourselves in a (position) to win the game. Me not hitting the free throw, I feel like I cost our team the win. And I dealt with that last night.
“We’re moving on as a team. We blew our chance, blew our opportunity. But we’ve got to focus on Game 2 now. It being one of the worst losses, got to kind of put it behind you now.”
Game 2 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET Sunday in Oakland.
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