Last year, Cleveland managed to win Game 4 before losing the next game-and the Finals-in Golden State. So it was understandable that the Cavaliers fans walked into Game 3 of the NBA Finals bullish with self-belief despite the literal and metaphorical clouds which hung over the city and its most successful team. They had been victimized by Stephen Curry’s Finals record nine three-pointers and went down in defeat by 122-103, falling 0-2 in the best-of-seven series. And then you’ve got a guy in Klay (Thompson) who could easily be on a team and carry a team, scored 40 in a quarter before. Kevin Love had 20 points and 13 rebounds and J.R. Smith finished with 13 points, finally making some shots.
The 12-point margin represented the biggest lead of the series for the Cavaliers at the time.
Still tired and wrestling with emotions after losing Game 3 on Wednesday night, when Kevin Durant scored 43 points and shot the Warriors within one win of their third title in four years, James pointed out Thursday what has become terrifyingly obvious.
“That’s what championship teams do”, James said. It just wasn’t enough-like his 51 points in Game 1-to get the Cavs past the Golden State Warriors. “Every opportunity we get to play more minutes together, we start to figure out a better chemistry”. Tonight they’re up 3. So, same wing, different location.
LeBron James just had to tip his hat. I mean, that’s what he does. You know what I’m saying?
Kerr was asked about Golden State’s rotation and Jordan Bell’s impact but the Warriors boss quickly turned the attention to 2017 Finals MVP Durant. Instead, it comes into play when cover athletes jump from one team to another, either by trade or by free agency, before the next edition of National Basketball Association 2K is released. It was eerily reminiscent of the three-point bomb he hit in the face of James in Game 3 of last year’s Finals which, like this one, gave the Warriors a daunting 3-0 series lead.
But the Warriors fought back into it, with Durant hitting a variety of impossible-to-defend jumpers, and it was a one-point game with six minutes to go.
The 30-year-old guard was widely thought to be the frontrunner for the award this year prior to Game 3, but Durant’s performance combined with Curry’s no-show has made it a legitimate conversation. “I guess because you are comfortable”, he said.
But a lot of the angst won’t be about the Warriors, it will be about James.
But unlike Durant, Smith and Love didn’t keep it going.
“You know that you can never relax”.
“When they make you pay.it comes in the bunches”, James said. But the rest of the night will be tough.
“It’s nearly like playing the Patriots”, Cleveland superstar LeBron James said Wednesday night. We probably all knew they were going to win, yet there was nearly always drama and a pause for thought: “Can Michael do it again?” The Warriors could be champions again as early as Friday night, and this crown – after experiencing plenty of turbulence this season – would most definitely be one to savor. What we do is we decide where are we going to attack? “It’s the first team to four wins, right? And if we can do that, guys can look in the mirror and live with themselves”.
Thus far, the Cavs have found little success in knocking the 2014 NBA MVP and former league scoring champ off his game.