LeBron James: Cleveland Cavaliers must avoid scoring lulls late in quarters

CLEVELAND -- Scoring droughts at the end of the first and fourth quarters proved costly to the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.

Over the final two minutes of the first quarter, the Warriors went on a 12-3 scoring run, and then, finished the game with an 11-0 spurt that delivered them a 118-113 come-from-behind victory over the Cavaliers and a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“They made some shots and we didn't,” Cavaliers small forward LeBron James said. “We had some really good looks. We had some really good looks. I had a turnaround jumper in the post fade-away, I make a ton, didn't go in. Kyle had a corner three, really good look right in front of their bench, didn't go in.

“They came down and Steph, one ricocheted off the backboard, he got a tip in, K.D. got a pull-up on Tristan, and then, he shoots a bomb in transition. It's a miss-or-make league. We make a couple, they miss a couple, and it's the other way around, but it didn't happen that way.”

The Cavaliers surged ahead of the Warriors with an 11-point advantage in the third quarter, 33-22, and led by as many as seven in the fourth after shooting guard Kyle Korver buried a 25-foot three-pointer on a drive-and-kick from James, and again when point guard Kyrie Irving hit a mid-range pull-up jumper.

However, they could not combat the Warriors' offensive firepower.

Small forward Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 31 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including a four-for-seven mark from three-point range. Durant added eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and a blocked shot over 41 minutes of action.

In addition to Durant, the Warriors got double-digit production from point guard Stephen Curry, who scored 26 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to go along with six assists and two steals, while shooting guard Klay Thompson knocked down six triples on his way to 30 markers.

“Of course we thought we were going to win,” James said. “We had an opportunity. They had opportunities as well and they made the most of them, and we didn't. So, yeah, we came in the game believing we were going to win for sure.”

As the clock ticked under a minute left in the fourth quarter, Durant secured a defensive rebound and dribbled the ball over to the left wing, where he pulled up and knocked down a 26-foot three-pointer, which gave Golden State a 114-113 lead over the Cavaliers.

Then, Durant and Curry closed out the game with two free throws each.

“I saw him getting ready to pull up, he uses a rhythm dribble to get a good look, and when K.D. shoots, he falls forward, and I wanted to get a contest,” James said. “The last thing I want to do is foul a jump shooter, so I wanted to jump and contest it, but I know when he shoots, he kind of leans forward a little bit. So I just stayed there, high hands, contested, and he made it.”

 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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