11:47 p.m.-LATE SURGE GIVES GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GAME 3 WIN OVER CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers did not score a point over the final three-plus minutes, and a late spurt from small forward Kevin Durant gave the Golden State Warriors a 118-113 victory in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.
With the win, the Warriors took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series heading into Friday night’s Game 4 matchup in Cleveland.
As the clock ticked under a minute, Warriors small forward Kevin 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 point guard Stephen Curry closed out the game with two free throws each.
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 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.
Point guard Kyrie Irving and small forward LeBron James led the way for the Cavaliers, as they totaled 38 and 39 points, respectively. James knocked down 15 of his 27 attempts, including four of his nine looks from three-point range. He corralled 11 rebounds, handed out nine assists, stole one pass and blocked a shot in the losing effort.
After struggling through Games 1 and 2, Irving knocked down 16 of his 29 looks from the field despite missing all seven of his three-point tries on the way to 38 points. Irving added six rebounds and three assists in 44 minutes of play.
11:05 p.m.-CAVALIERS FIGHT THEIR WAY INTO THE LEAD
CLEVELAND -- Third quarters were not kind to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the latter stages of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics and first two games of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, but the opposite was true in Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.
With the ardent home crowd behind them, the Cavaliers outscored the Warriors by 11 points and took a 94-89 lead into the fourth quarter of play.
The Cavaliers surged ahead of the Warriors thanks to the explosive, aggressive pursuit of point guard Kyrie Irving, who totaled 16 points on a seven-of-10 shooting performance from the field and a pair of free throws without taking a break in the third quarter.
Additionally, Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith stepped up and knocked down two of his four tries from three-point range on the way to a six-point quarter and 12 over the first 36 minutes of play.
10:19 p.m.-CAVALIERS TRAIL AT THE HALF
CLEVELAND -- After a fast start, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their rhythm offensively at times during the second quarter, and the Golden State Warriors took full advantage, pushing the lead to six points, 67-61, at halftime of Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena.
Although the Cavaliers struggled to shoot early in the second period, they picked things up in the final minutes, closing the half with a driving layup from point guard Kyrie Irving that made it a two-possession game heading into the break.
Irving scored 11 of his 17 first-half points in the second quarter, and small forward LeBron James added 12 of his own for a game-high total in the period.
While James and Irving carried the mail for Cleveland, the three-point shot remained a mystery for the Cavaliers in the second quarter, as they converted only two of their 10 looks from long distance.
9:40 p.m.-CAVALIERS TRAIL WARRIORS BY EIGHT AFTER FIRST
CLEVELAND -- Much like in Game 2, the Cleveland Cavaliers again came out strong, but hot shooting from guard Klay Thompson and a late scoring run gave the Golden State Warriors a 39-32 lead after the first quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.
With the game tied at 27-27 after a transition dunk from Cavaliers small forward LeBron James, the Warriors ended the first quarter on a 12-4 run over the final 2:34, and point guard Stephen Curry sparked the surge with back-to-back triples. Then, forward Draymond Green and reserve guard Shaun Livingston each threw down dunks in the half-court set.
In the first quarter, Thompson led the way with 16 points on a five-for-seven effort from the field. Four of those five makes came from three-point range. While Curry accounted for only six points, he handed out four assists and stole one pass.
James tallied a team-high 15 points on seven-of-eight shooting, including one three-pointer, and although power forward Kevin Love had only two points in the quarter, he stole three passes, which helped the Cavaliers score 10 off Warriors turnovers.
9:00 p.m.-GAME INFORMATION
CLEVELAND -- Despite losing just five games in six series in the Eastern Conference Playoffs over the last three years, the Cleveland Cavaliers are no strangers to comebacks.
And that comeback ability might very well come in handy, as the Cavaliers find themselves down, 2-0, in a best-of-seven series against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season.
In the exact same position last year, the Cavaliers overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Warriors and win the NBA Championship for the first time in franchise history, and although the two teams are far different than a year ago, there are certain lessons that can be taken from the experience.
“You understand the journey and how much of the energy it took from a mental and physical standpoint in order to come back from something like that,” Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving said after Tuesday’s practice.
“You know it’s definitely possible, but also, the realization that you’re in a new moment, new journey, with some new guys in a new collective group. You understand that it has to be different things done in order to be successful in this series.”
In the 132-113 Game 2 loss Sunday, the Cavaliers got 29 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists, three steals and one blocked shot from small forward LeBron James, as well as 27 and 19 points from power forward Kevin Love and Irving, respectively, but that was not enough to combat the Warriors’ offensive firepower.
The Warriors got double-digit scoring efforts from four of their five starters, as well as reserve point guard Shaun Livingston.
Small forward Kevin Durant (33 points, 13 rebounds) and point guard Stephen Curry (32, 10, 11 assists) led the way for Golden State. Shooting guard Klay Thompson tallied 22 points and despite foul trouble for the entire game, power forward Draymond Green added 12 points, nine of which came on three-pointers, to go along with six rebounds, six assists and one steal.
“We just need our supporting group to be themselves as much as possible,” Irving said. “Understand that they have a unique opportunity to make us that much better, and for a majority of this season, it’s been on myself, ‘Bron and K-Love’s shoulders.
“We have done a great job of getting everyone involved and making sure that everyone feels comfortable, but now, we need everything and everybody. And I know they know how important they are, and it’s our job, my job to exude as much confidence as I can in them in order to get the very best, and I will do that.”
For the Cavaliers to fight their way back into The Finals for a second straight year, Irving knows it will be a total team effort, one even greater than what was put forth during the 2016 NBA Finals.
“It’s going to come from a very special place, and we’re going to need everyone, from myself to my teammates to the coaching staff to our fans, and understand how important Game 3 is,” Irving said.
“Going into it, we definitely want to limit some of our mistakes and things that we don’t want to necessarily mimic that we did in Game 1 and 2. So coming back home, watching film, seeing different things, we can execute and do at a very high level what we need to do.”
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