LeBron James and the Cavs trail the Warriors 2-0 for the third year in a row.
In the game's final stage, Golden State was better, leaving James to compare his opponent to a gold standard in a different sport.
"I mean, when you're down like this, in a deficit like this versus a team like this, there's no good feeling", James continued. "You're saying I got criticized for something, right?"
"I got to the bench, first thing that came to my mind I was like, OK, I was calling a timeout", he said. "Tomorrow I'll replay some plays and some moments, things of that nature".
Well, the Warriors sure missed having their savvy veteran on the floor - and were very grateful that he was able to return for such a high-stakes game against a Cavaliers team fighting to not fall into a 3-0 series hole, something no team has come back from.
Cleveland led by as many in 12 in the first quarter, but Golden State went on a 14-7 spurt after Hood entered the game for Love and went into the second down only one, 29-28. We know how Cleveland plays here, with a lot of energy and force.
"At the end of the day, if you want to compete for a championship or win a championship, you've got to go through the champion, and they're the champion".
"We have a great opportunity tomorrow to do that". It was clear during that game that if the Cavs are to stand any chance against the Warriors, they'll need James to be super-human and take it upon himself to carry a significant scoring load in the series.More news: IOS 12 Preview Reflects AR, AI Trends
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue could only marvel at the similar circumstances.
While Warriors power forward Draymond Green battled foul trouble (and his fifth technical of the postseason), the fiery leader made a dunk that gave the Warriors a 108-102 cushion with 25 seconds left.
"This game was like deja vu of game three past year for him just all the way around", said Golden State's Draymond Green.
"We talk about his versatility all the time", Warriors guard Stephen Curry said.
Smith became one of the big Game 1 stories for all the wrong reasons.
"It was big", Curry said.
The Warriors signed Durant as a free agent after losing to Cleveland 4-3 in the best-of-7 2016 NBA Finals.
They got the triple-double from James. He notched 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting. And in the immediate aftermath, it appeared Smith said to James on the court that he thought the Cavs were leading - something he denied afterward.
"I don't care at all", he said.