CLEVELAND - Welcome back to '3 Shots' as we greet you from Quicken Loans Arena for Game 3 of the NBA Finals. It's essentially a must win game for the Cavaliers, who trail Golden State 0-2 in the best-of-seven series. At the half, the Warriors are on top 67-61.
Here's what we've seen so far:
1. 20,562 hearts at the Q and thousands more around the country stopped with 5:48 to play in the 1st Quarter
LeBron James was coming back on transition help defense when he inadvertently collided with Tristan Thompson. The four-time MVP was motionless on the floor for about a minute.
He then proceeded to get up, tell Ty Lue he was okay to stay in the game, and hit an and-one basket. That's what he does. He finished the first quarter with 16 points and has 27 at the half.
The problem was James exited the game with 1:49 to play in the first. Golden State proceeded to go on a 10-0 run to close the quarter and turn a two-point Cavs lead into an eight-point deficit. That's what they do. I wouldn't be shocked if LBJ plays the rest of the game without a break.
2. This is a bad time for Klay Thompson to heat up
All we heard coming into this NBA Finals series was how much Warriors guard Klay Thompson was struggling. He's only averaging 14 points per game in these playoffs and really was out of the mix. In Game 2, he seemed to find himself somewhat, scoring 22 points. Tonight, he's been outstanding with 21 points at the half, including 5-7 from beyond the 3-point line.
And Thompson is also doing a superb job handling Kyrie Irving in this series. His length is causing all sorts of problems whether Kyrie tries to cut to the basket or come off a screen and shoot.
3. The Cavaliers are still standing, but will Golden State deliver another 3rd quarter knockout?
I thought the first quarter was a snapshot of what we've seen predominately in this series: Golden State shooting the lights out, moving at warp speed, and the Cavaliers were about a half step behind. But the Cavs persevered, played some good defense for most of the second quarter (save a run by Golden State before half), and are only six points down. But the problem for the Cavs has been the third quarter as the Warrriors hold a +24 margin in the games of this series in the third. Can the Wine and Gold stay standing and put themselves in a position to win?
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