OAKLAND, Calif. – J.R. Smith’s blunder, a disputed replay overturn and a key missed free throw dealt the Cleveland Cavaliers an emotionally crushing loss in an opener of the NBA Finals that was ripe to be taken away from the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
They finally got a bit of good news during a day off Friday when the NBA determined that Cleveland big men Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love wouldn’t be suspended for Game 2 on Sunday night for their roles in a late-game brawl.
The incident started in the closing seconds of Cleveland’s 124-114 overtime loss Thursday night when Thompson was called for a flagrant 2 foul against Shaun Livingston. Thompson was ejected and then shoved the ball into Draymond Green’s face before leaving the court.
The NBA fined Thompson $25,000 for failing to leave the court in a timely fashion and for his interaction with Green but downgraded the foul to a flagrant 1.
Love left the bench to argue the flagrant call and was on the court when the altercation started.
But the league determined he didn’t warrant a suspension because he returned to the bench immediately.
“I just think, especially when a game has been as hard-fought as that one, you don’t like to see emotions spilling over at the end,” commissioner Adam Silver said before executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced the penalties.
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