LeBron James played Finals with hand contusion suffered punching blackboard after Game 1

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Jason Owens
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Shortly after the trophy ceremony crowning the Golden State Warriors NBA champions, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst dropped a bit of a bombshell.

Windhorst reported that LeBron James punched a blackboard in anger after a debilitating Game 1 loss that the Cleveland Cavaliers let slip away. James reportedly played the rest of the series with a hand contusion that limited his ability to shoot.

Per Windhorst on ESPN:

LeBron James played the last three games of this series with a significantly injured right hand, a hand that he injured punching a blackboard in the locker room at Golden State after Game 1. He’s had two MRIs to determine the severity. It has been determined a hand contusion, but he’s dealing with a lot of swelling and a little bit of stiffness in his hand. He’s been wearing a soft cast when he’s been away from the basketball court. Even at press conferences, he’s hidden his hand inside his jacket as he’s been wearing a soft cast. It’s not something he’s wanted out there. It’s not something he’s using as an excuse. It’s something that definitely was a factor.

Windhorst pointed to James’ unwillingness to shoot from distance later in the series as evidence of how his hand injury affected his play.

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When James left Game 4 for the last time he bumped fists with some Warriors players, but avoided using his right hand.

He showed up to the post-game press conference wearing a cast and called his injury “self-inflicted” from postgame after a “very emotional” Game 1 loss.

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“I let the emotions get the best of me and pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand,” James said.

LeBron James confirmed a post-game report that he injured his hand in frustration after Game 1 and played the rest of the Finals with a hand contusion.. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
LeBron James confirmed a post-game report that he injured his hand in frustration after Game 1 and played the rest of the Finals with a hand contusion.. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

More NBA Finals coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Durant claims 2nd straight Finals MVP honor
Warriors complete sweep to win championship
NBA players are already recruiting LeBron
LeBron: ‘I pretty much played the last 3 games with a broken hand’