NBA Finals: LeBron James has been playing with 'broken hand' after 'self-inflicted' injury following Game 1
LeBron James apparently punched a blackboard after Game 1 in frustration
LeBron James just finished a pretty incredible NBA Finals. He averaged 34 points, 10 assists and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 52 percent for the entire series. Despite this, the Cleveland Cavaliers did not steal a single game from the Warriors -- on Friday, they were swept out of the playoffs.
There was one game, however, that James and the Cavs almost stole. They led late in Game 1 and had a chance to win in regulation. George Hill missed a free throw, only for J.R. Smith to get the rebound and commit the blunder of his life, dribbling out the clock and forcing overtime. James was beside himself and the Cavs wound up with a heartbreaking 124-114 loss. Aside from being the one that got away, though, this felt like the end of the incident.
At the end of the series and the season, we learned that Game 1 had a profound effect on the games that followed. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN and Sam Amick of USA Today, James has been playing with a bone contusion in his right hand since the Finals opener. The reason for that injury? He punched a blackboard in frustration.
In James' postgame press conference he commented on the hand injury. He said it was self-inflicted, but did not confirm that he punched a board.
"What happened? Self-inflicted, post-game after Game 1. Very emotional, for a lot of different reasons. Understanding how important Game 1 is on the road for our ballclub, what would that have done for us. The way we played, the calls that was made throughout the course of that game, I had emotions on the game was taken away from us. I had emotions of you just don't get opportunities like this on the road, versus Golden State, to be able to get a Game 1. And I let the emotions get the best of me. I pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand, so that's what it is."
This is insane. Everybody knows of James' competitiveness, but to be so frustrated with a loss that he would punch a board? Then injure his hand over it? It's amazing that he was able to play with the injury at all, but it's crazy to think that someone usually so composed would risk injury like that.
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