NBA Finals 2015 - Game 1: Golden State Warriors overcome 44 points from LeBron James to take lead over Cleveland Cavaliers

Golden State Warriors 108 Cleveland Cavaliers 100 (OT)

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The Independent Online

The Golden State Warriors overcame LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after overtime to take a 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

James had 44 points in the game - a career-best in the Finals - but the Warriors came back from 14 points down to win in front of their home fans in Oakland, taking the game 108-100.

Worryingly for Cleveland, point guard Kyrie Irving aggravated his left leg in the extra period and was seen leaving the Oracle Arena on crutches; Irving missed two games in the Conference Finals because of injury.

League MVP Stephen Curry was excellent in the extra period, after James had missed a long shot at the end of regulation that likely would have won Cleveland the game. The Cavaliers then missed their first eight shots in overtime.

With Kevin Love already out, Cleveland can't afford to lose Irving for Game 2 on Sunday, again in Oakland.

"You can see in the tone of my voice I'm a little worried," said Irving.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he hopes Irving is able to play the remainder of the series.

"I mean that," Kerr said. "You probably don't believe me, but I mean that."

There were 13 lead changes and 11 ties in a game tightly contested across the board. There was little edge in shooting (Warriors 44.3 per cent, Cavaliers 41.5 per cent), rebounding (Warriors 48, Cavaliers 45) or assists (Warriors 24, Cavaliers 19).

In the end, it came down to the NBA's top teams and biggest stars making plays - or not.

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LeBron James scored 44 points but missed what could have been a game-winning shot

James and newly crowned MVP Curry (26 points and eight assists) carried their clubs through the fourth quarter, trading scores and assists in a back-and-forth duel.

Both stars also had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds of regulation.

With the scores tied, Curry beat Irving off the dribble and moved in for the layup. Instead, Irving blocked the shot from behind, J.R. Smith came up with the rebound and the Cavs called a timeout with 24.1 seconds left.

James dribbled down the clock and missed his jump shot from just inside the left arc. Iman Shumpert just got off a desperation shot which nearly rimmed in at the buzzer.

The Cavs never came so close again, due to a series of misses in overtime.

"I got to where I wanted to get, step back, made them before," James said. "It's a make or miss league, and we had our chances."

James hit a game-winning three-pointer over Iguodala two seasons ago with Miami from almost the same spot. Iguodala wasn't about to let it happen again.

"I kind of knew that play he wanted to get into, just going left, step back, and I was right there on him," Iguodala said.

Curry drew two fouls at the start of overtime and made all four free throws, and Harrison Barnes hit a corner three just in front of the Cavs bench to give Golden State a 105-98 lead with 2:02 to play.

Irving limped to the bench trying to shake off his troublesome left leg after the play.

The Warriors went ahead 108-98 on free throws with 1:16 to play, effectively ending the contest. James' uncontested layup with 8.9 seconds left accounted for Cleveland's only points in overtime.

Additional reporting from AP

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