The 2017 NBA Finals didn't exactly get off to a great start for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as they fell to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 in Oakland 113-91 on Thursday night.
The defending champs were outscored 33-20 in the third quarter of play, which was a key factor in their series-opening loss.
The Cavs also looked lost on the defensive end, allowing Kevin Durant to torch them for 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Though the Cavaliers had every right to be demoralized after the game, star forward LeBron James wouldn't let them. As you can see below, as he's making his way through the tunnel back toward the locker room after the tough loss, he stops, turns around and cheers up his teammates as they pass by him:
That sort of leadership is what makes LeBron one of the best teammates in the game and Thursday night's gesture won't be forgotten as the Cavs move forward in the series.
After the loss, James said the Warriors didn't do anything unexpected. Instead, he said the Cavs just have to do a better job of stopping what Golden State does best (via ESPN.com):
"I wasn't surprised at anything," James said. "They are a high-powered offensive team. They can shoot the ball from the perimeter; they can get into the paint. They do everything exceptionally well, if not great. So never surprised by anything they do."
The Warriors only shot 36.4 percent from three-point range on Thursday night, but that was largely due to the struggles of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, who went a combined 1-for-10 from deep. Durant and Steph Curry, meanwhile, combined to shoot 9-for-17 from three-point range, which LeBron knows can't happen again if the Cavaliers want to win.
Now, James said, all the Cavs can do is try to prepare better for Game 2 on Sunday to try to steal a win in Oakland before heading home to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4:
"Just get focused on Game 2," James said. "We made a lot of mistakes. There's nothing really needs to be said. We know we're capable of playing a lot better. We didn't play as well as we know we're capable of, so we look forward to the next one."
Though their leader is remaining upbeat, the Cavaliers know they can't afford to have another lackluster performance like Thursday night if they want to defend their 2016 title. However, LeBron won't let his teammates get down on themselves just yet, as there is still a lot of basketball left to be played.