Durant's shot sends perfect Warriors over Cavs in Finals

Then he rose, to the moment, to his MVP stature, to the expectations imposed upon him.

In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, with the potential for history hanging in the balance, Durant stepped forward to leave Golden State on the verge of its second title in three years, scoring seven of his 31 points during an 11-0 run over the final 3:09 to lift the Warriors to a 118-113 win and a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Throughout the second half Wednesday night, Cleveland had hope.

"No, only missed shots".

Even in Game 2, the Cavaliers looked improved and came away with a 19-point loss.

No team has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series in 126 attempts, although no club had rallied from 3-1 down in the NBA Finals until the Cavs did it past year to defeat the Warriors. "I thought Klay's defense on Kyrie was fantastic", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "I don't want to relax".

Because for a few fleeting moments it looked like we had one. They can get their shots off against anybody.

In any event, the Cavs are still breathing, and it's now the Warriors who may be feeling the pressure after blowing a 3-1 lead last June. LeBron James is averaging 32.4 points and 8.8 rebounds while Kyrie Irving is averaging 25 points and 5.3 assists. Their combined 77 points was the most by a duo in a loss in Finals history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. "But that's pretty taxing to go one-on-one the whole game". James didn't have many words either. That's going to be the toughest thing for the Cavaliers to manage.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Kevin Durant released his deep shot, the one he always makes in his dreams.

It's the first truly competitive game of the Finals, a welcome sight for the National Basketball Association after an entire playoffs filled with blowouts. After several minutes, James stopped and performed a dozen lunges before teammate Tristan Thompson came over and playfully asked, "What are you doing?"

The Golden State Warriors made no promises and he knew there were no guarantees.

LeBron James had faced the same deficit five times before and his teams had gone 4-1 in Game 3 and won two series - in the 2016 Finals and against the Pistons in the 2007 Eastern Conference finals.

The Warriors trailed by six with three minutes left before Durant, criticized for leaving Oklahoma City last summer to chase a championship, brought them back, scoring 14 in the fourth.

But Cleveland emerged from halftime energized.

While the Warriors swear a flawless postseason has never been on their mind during this run, they changed their tune after Game 3. At home for the first time since May 23, Cleveland turned the game during that period.

Just when you were ready to declare this NBA Finals a series, the Golden State Warriors once again demonstrated the will to make it all their own. You have an opportunity to sign one of the best players, and you can do it, go ahead and do it. Should the Warriors stay healthy and together - and it would cost them enormously in salaries and taxes - they should be a title threat every year. "I mean, they both shot over 50 percent from the field, over, yeah, 50 percent. Fatigue will play a role". The only players not to get one were Patrick McCaw and James Michael McAdoo - with McAdoo only playing for six seconds in the game. As the quarter closed, Cleveland could not match Durant's will.

With coach Steve Kerr back on the bench for the second straight game after battling back pain, Golden State, which made a record 9 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished 16 of 33 behind the arc, also got just what it needed from its reserves as Andre Iguodala had several big plays, none bigger than stripping James of the ball on a potential tying 3-pointer with 12.6 seconds left. Much like James, Durant slides in at the small forward spot, joining the four previous starters LeBron had.

  • Julie Sanders