The Cleveland Cavaliers failed to draw first blood in Game 1 of their NBA Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at Oracle Arena. To make things complicated, they could be headed into Game 2 without two of their starters, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson could earn a one-game suspension for being involved in an altercation in the final seconds of Game 1.
Despite having a 10-point lead, Warriors point guard Shaun Livingston shot a midrange jumper with 2.5 seconds left in the game. Tristan Thompson contested the shot and said that what Livingston did was a sign of disrespect. As everyone knows, there is an unspoken rule in the NBA that a player shouldn’t shoot the ball if they already have a huge lead with a few seconds left before the end of the regulation.
“I contested a shot that shouldn’t have been taken,” Thompson said. “I mean, it’s like the unspoken rule in the NBA: If you’re up 10 or 11 with about 20 seconds left, you don’t take that shot. I make the contest, and next thing I know, I was being kicked out for a good contest that we learn in training camp. I don’t know why I got thrown out.”
While trying to block the shot, the referee caught Thompson’s elbow hitting Livingston’s body, resulting in a flagrant foul 2 that warrants an automatic ejection. Before he left the court, Thompson was exchanging words with Warriors forward Draymond Green, who taunted the Cavaliers big man by waving goodbye. The conversation got heated and Thompson decided to throw the ball in Green’s face.
Meanwhile, during the scuffle, Kevin Love was caught entering the court while the referees were at the scorer’s table discussing the flagrant foul called on Tristan Thompson. Though Love was immediately pulled by a Cavaliers assistant coach, an NBA rule states that a player who is not in the game during an altercation is not allowed to enter the court. With their actions in the final seconds of Game 1, the NBA could decide to give Love and Thompson a one-game suspension.
This would undeniably be a nightmare for the Cavaliers since even with their complete roster, they are already considered as a heavy underdog against the Warriors. Cleveland would not only lose a dominant presence under the basket (Tristan Thompson) but also their second-best player next to LeBron James (Kevin Love).
As of now, Love isn’t worried about receiving a punishment for his involvement in Game 1 scuffle. The All-Star forward explained that he only entered the game to ask the referee about the flagrant foul they called on Thompson, and he did it before the altercation happened. Still, everything is in the hands of NBA officials if they will suspend Love and Thompson or not.