Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Golden State blocks Cleveland comeback bid


The Warriors fought back in the fourth quarter and finished off a 118-113 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the series and improve their 2017 playoff record to a flawless 15-0.

Needing to dodge danger for just over a couple of minutes, the Cavs surrendered to the class of Kevin Durant, who scored a game-turning 3-pointer with just 45 seconds remaining on the clock to take his team into a 114-113 lead from a 107-113 deficit.

J.R. Smith is still around though his three-point shot has evaporated.

The top-seeded and undefeated Warriors, who can close out a ideal postseason run on Friday, boast a slew of weapons, most notably two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry and four-times scoring champion Kevin Durant.

Durant provided just what they needed after last year's Finals loss - a bona fide go-to bucket-getter - and the Warriors have provided just what Durant needed - a team so full of offensive weapons that he could focus on the other facets of his game. Love's 3-pointer at 8:59 gave the Cavs their first advantage at any point after the first quarter in this series, and Cleveland's 94-87 lead toward the end of the period was its largest of the series.

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Curry hit a layup, and after both James and Irving missed for the Cavs, Durant dropped his three-pointer to put Golden State up 114-113 with under a minute to play.

While James has thrived so far and had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists to tie Magic Johnson's record with his eighth career Finals triple-double last Sunday, he hasn't gotten almost enough help.

Kevin Love added nine points, 13 rebounds and six steals. "Certainly they are a great shooting team".

"I thought Kev's defense was unreal", Kerr said Sunday night. It shows growth. Kevin Durant makes a huge pull-up three with so much confidence. "We get a chance to go home now to our home crowd where we play well, also".

The two NBA superstars, who now are going head-to-head in the NBA Finals, collaborated six years ago to create a super-secret hip-hop track during the NBA lockout, ESPN's Chris Haynes reported Monday, citing league sources. It wound up being a devastating weapon for the Warriors, who once again blew a seemingly competitive game open in the second half and left everyone watching wondering when, or if, Cleveland will find a way to counteract what Golden State is doing. The games go on only because the rules require four wins to decide a best-of-seven series.

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The inevitable rage of Draymond Green made its first appearance in the NBA Finals and it took until Game 3 for it to finally happen.

But coming back from 3-0 deficit against an even more talented Warriors team than the one they needed seven games to beat past year is a different story. But Curry hit back-to-back 3s on a 10-0 run to close the entertaining and exhausting quarter. And fans and many sports pundits outside of Oakland, California, have complained bitterly that Durant's free-agent move from Oklahoma City to Golden State had destroyed the National Basketball Association season.

But if you ask me, I say please somebody call the Pope and demand that pontiff put KD on the saint ballot. While I had seen Durant highlights over the years, I had never really sat down and watched him play. Wow.

The Cavs, though, couldn't get far enough ahead to get comfortable and the Warriors kept chipping away before Durant's defining 3 - the shot that makes dreams come true. Join the King James Gospel team!

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving, who had 19 points in game two, needs one of his best games to help counteract the Warriors' production. "We're confident in him taking that shot every time".

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