Game 3 of the NBA Finals was going to be a statement for whoever took the W. If the Cleveland Cavaliers won, it would prove that they have enough to go toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors and can make this series interesting. If the Dubs won, it would show they have too much firepower to be beat.
Though The Land’s crowd had the Cavs charged up at the beginning of the game, they could not sustain that energy throughout the game.
Kevin Durant was the too much for Cleveland to handle.
It was a one point lead after the first quarter for the Cavs. They ballooned the lead to double digits in the second quarter, but even as the Warriors trailed, Durant hit some key shots to bring Golden State within striking distance.
The Warriors did not explode in the third quarter like we’ve seen them do in the postseason, yet they hit enough shots to take the lead coming out of halftime.
Steph Curry went 0-9 from 3-point range after setting the NBA Finals record for 3-pointers made (with 9) in the last game and it took him until the fourth quarter to finally drain one. Klay Thompson went 4-11 for the game. The Splash Brothers combined for 7-27 from the field on the night, the worst performance for them in the NBA Finals thus far.
But KD kept the team on his back, putting up tough shots and sinking them.
Even as King James attacked the basket and kept the Cavs within a point or two, it wasn’t enough because he wasn’t getting much help from his supporting cast. Yes, Rodney Hood had 15 points off the bench. Yet Kyle Korver laid a goose egg with zero points, while Tristan Thompson and George Hill combined for 13 points in the starting lineup.
LBJ finished with a triple double (33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds) and the Cavs still lost by 8 points at home.
On the contrary, Golden State’s bench of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Jordan Bell combined for 26 points combined.
When the Warriors took the lead down the stretch, the Quicken Loans arena was quiet. The atmosphere surrounding the Cavs was deflated. It was a gut punch. Everyone in the building was trying not to think of the reality of a sweep.
Break out the brooms?