Despite Kevin Durant’s colorful career full of big shots, the shot at the end of Game 3 with 45 seconds left on the clock may have been his biggest. This may not seem like a big event for people that didn’t watch the final 20 minutes of the game but anyone that did knows this was the bullet that killed the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Golden State Warriors took a 3-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers after a 118-113 victory on the road.
As amazing as that moment was, it wasn’t the only highlight of the game. The Warriors as a team still had to weather the storm that lasted for the majority of the second half by the Cavaliers.
Steph Curry had another one of his tantalizing games with 26 points on 5-for-9 shooting from 3-point range. More surprisingly, Curry finished the game with 13 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive, creating extra plays for his teammates. It’s a near-impossible task to beat three of the league’s top 15 players at their best. Curry wasn’t the only one with at least 25 points.
Klay Thompson erupted for 16 points in the first quarter and took a slight break during the second and third quarter offensively, only to exert more of his energy where his team needed it most: on the defensive end. This was just one of those games Thompson needed to step up more on the defensive side while Durant and Curry continued to pour on the points. Nevertheless, Thompson was still the second leading scorer with 30.
Cleveland didn’t play a bad game, at all. That’s what makes the last two losses so demoralizing.
Lebron got a ton of help tonight. Although James nearly tallied another Finals triple-double with 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists, Kyrie Irving was literally his running mate throughout the entire game’s duration, scoring 38 points, on 55.2 percent shooting. That stat alone masks the fact that he failed to hit a three for the entire game, going 0-for-7. But at the same time, that symbolizes his dominance working within the perimeter as a 6-foot-3 point guard. Irving also added 6 rebounds.
Although Cleveland’s bench didn’t play well at all, they got much-needed and long overdue production from J.R. Smith who finished tonight’s game with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long distance. Kyle Korver helped out off the bench with 8 points and a few key defensive plays that helped his team get extra offensive possessions.
Defensively in the second half, the Cavs played the best defense they’ve played all series. Before the 11-0 run in the last 2:19, they only gave up 40 second-half points to the Warriors, which is very impressive considering the offensive juggernaut Golden State is.
Before the Finals started, people wondered how Cleveland would contain all the offensive firepower Golden State has. Now, it’s becoming more clear that they really can’t. Cleveland played very well the last two games and still lost both. This is a team that blew through the Eastern Conference playoffs almost as dominantly as Golden State did in the West, but now the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 in the NBA is very evident.
This is even becoming obvious for James, who said in his postgame press conference that the Warriors have “the most firepower” he’s ever played against in his career.
Game 4 will take place back in Cleveland on Friday at 8 p.m.