Warriors rally late to put LeBron and Cavaliers in 3-0 hole
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 09, 2017,
Jun 09, 2017, 0:05
Kevin Durant scored a team-high 31 points for the Warriors, who improved to 15-0 in the postseason and will get a chance on Friday in Cleveland to become the first team to go unbeaten all the way to a title.
NOTES: LeBron James passed Sam Jones (1,143 points), Bill Russell (1,151 points), and Elgin Baylor (1,161 points) for fourth place on the Finals all-time scoring list in the first half.
When the Cavs couldn't muster a basket in the final three minutes of Game 3, and the Warriors jumped on the opportunity.
Along with James, he helped breathe life into Cleveland's championship hopes a year ago with a Game 3 explosion. The Cavs shot just 12 of 44 as a team from beyond the arc.
Durant, meanwhile, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left for a 114-113 advantage.
Irving bounced back from a rough Game 2 with 38 points, including a couple of dazzling layups where he juked around multiple Warriors.
A 10-0 Cleveland run early in the third quarter brought the Cavaliers its first lead of the finals beyond the opening quarter, Kevin Love's 3-pointer closing the spurt to put the hosts ahead 71-69. It was the longer, more athletic Thompson, who got a terrific contest, forcing Irving's triple try with 26 seconds remaining to fall short.
And when I say it's his team, it's not just literally his team. Not team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit.
Back home after being outrun and outgunned by the Warriors, who won Games 1 and 2 at Oracle Arena by a combined 41 points, the Cavs find themselves in the same predicament they were in past year. "I saw he (James) was playing his heels behind the 3-point line". "I've never been in this position before, I don't want to relax". The last time the Warriors lost with Kevin Durant healthy was February 13 in Denver, prior to the All-Star break.
In other words, Golden State was willing to let Irving and James get theirs, eventually hoping they'd run out of gas, and make others beat them. "We've got a group around him that can help him and create space for him, and I think he's having the time of his life".
After a huge shot cut the lead to two points, Durant then had his defining moment. It wasn't our smartest game that we have played all year, but it was maybe our toughest in terms of our ability to just hang in there.
Irving shot 16-of-29, but missed his final three shots, all in the final 1:52.
The Warriors didn't have it all their own way and had to rally hard in the final quarter.