June 8, 2017, 12:45 am
The Golden State Warriors are now at the cusp of an amazing 16-0 NBA playoff sweep for the 2016-17 championship. They defeated a tenacious Cleveland Cavaliers squad, 118-113 in Game 3 of the NBA finals. Out-gunned, out-matched, out-hustled? Whichever words you choose to describe what happened in the game, you cannot say that the Cavs did not want this win at home. Badly.
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Wednesday night brought to us the most exciting and competitive game of the NBA finals so far. The Cavaliers were exchanging leads with the Warriors in the fourth and even had a six-point lead with three minutes left in regulation, was a sight to see indeed. Trips to the free throw line and a clutch three-point shot by Kevin Durant allowed Golden State to squeeze ahead with less than a minute remaining. Again, the new addition to the team seized another opportunity to lead the Dubs to another victory. He led the team’s rally in the fourth period to keep their hopes alive. He was, as expected, the difference maker.
With the Warriors up 116-113, Cleveland went to their living legend, LeBron James to force overtime at home. If anyone was going to take that shot, it was going to be him. As he lifted off, an all-too-familiar face and hand were also up in the air to greet him. Andre Iguodala soared to block the King’s “Hail Mary” trey. The Warriors grabbed the rebound and Cleveland was forced to give up the intentional foul to stop the clock. Alas, two made free-throw shots and a second and change later, the buzzer sounded, and with it ended the Cavaliers’ hopes of securing a win at home.
Durant would fill the stat sheet in the win with a team-high 31 points, eight rebounds, four assists, four triples, a steal, and a block. The “Splash Brothers,” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, combined for 56 points, 11 treys, 19 rebounds, and eight assists. Needless to say, Golden State’s backcourt did their part and then some. While praises are being showered on Durant, I’d like to throw out some props to Andre Iguodala, for doing a great job on the defensive end of the floor. He ended the night with seven points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals, and that critical block in 30 minutes of action off the bench.
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Even though I am personally cheering for the Warriors to win, I could still empathize with the heartbreak the Cavs fans are feeling right now. Both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James looked like they were in control in the second half. Well, at least until KD decided to crank things up a notch and turned his “unstoppable mode” on.
LeBron was impressive on paper with 39 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, and four treys. Sadly, the only painful thing that must be mattering to him right now is that third tick mark in the loss column. Kyrie did a stand-up job with his 38 points, on 16-of-29 shooting from the field and perfect 6-of-6 from the line. Even with J.R. Smith finally waking up and contributing 16 points (5-of-10 from downtown), it was enough. Again, I commiserate with the Cavs’ fans and tip my hat to your players for a hard-fought game.
Will the Dubs sweep the Cavs in Game 4? I think so. As much as I would like to see more games between these two great teams, I’d rather see the Warriors go down as the first undefeated team in NBA playoff history. That said, with LeBron and company having their backs to the wall, the game should prove to be a hell of a show!