AS far as defeats go, this one hurt and landed at the top of the list for Cavaliers guard George Hill.
So sleep was a luxury for others but not for him after his missed free throw triggered a sequence that bordered on the bizarre.
Hill, an 80 per cent career free throw shooter, was at the line in his very first NBA Finals game.
He had two shots with 4.7 seconds remaining Friday.
Make both, the Cavs go up one point. No guarantees, but you had to like their chances against the Warriors at that stage.
He made one and missed one, which was rebounded by J.R. Smith — who inexplicably dribbled around and became the goat , sparing Hill somewhat.
The scored stayed tied, but overtime was one-sided as the Warriors grabbed a 1-0 Finals lead with a 124-114 victory.
“This one’s probably No. 1. This one hurt. This one hurt bad with a lot of things that went on,” said Hill,
assessing his worst defeats, and rating Thursday’s at the top, for a controversial charge reversal in the final minute and, of course, “me missing the free throw down the stretch.
“I felt like the team did a great job,” Hill said.
“Put ourselves in a [position] to win the game. Me not hitting the free throw, I feel like cost our team the win. And I dealt with that [Friday] night.”
How exactly did he deal with it, as there was no evidence of broken water coolers or hands anywhere?
“I don’t think anything got me through the night,” Hill said.
“I stayed up most of the night re-watching the free throw, re-watching the play. Just going over it in my head what I think went wrong.”
In the final minute, the Warriors’ Stephen Curry drove for a three-point play after LeBron James had put the Cavaliers up two. James then rifled a pass inside to Hill, who was fouled by Klay Thompson, sending him to the line for his only two free throws of the game.
“I already have confidence in LeBron. I think he has confidence in all of us to make the right play,” Hill said, noting the confidence boost a player gets from James’ trust.
Then it unravelled at the line, though Smith’s ill-advised decision came under heavier scrutiny. That didn’t lessen the pain for Hill, the 32-year-old point guard who joined Cleveland at the trade deadline.
“Put in a situation to help my team win a game and I didn’t come through. So for me, it sucked. It was one of the worst feelings ever,” Hill said. “But I have great teammates who have been in my ear, even last night and this morning, telling me to forget about it, continue to just focus on the next game and don’t let it linger.
“So it is what it is. I blew that opportunity, but the good thing is it’s a seven-game series and we have another game on Monday.”