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.
Cleveland Cavaliers host Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of NBA Finals
Much like in Game 2, the Cavaliers again came out strong, but hot shooting from Klay Thompson and a late scoring run gave the Warriors a 39-32 lead after the first quarter of Game 3.
With the game tied at 27-27 after a transition dunk from James, the Warriors ended the first quarter on a 12-4 run over the final 2:34, and Curry sparked the surge with back-to-back triples. Then, 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 Love had only two points in the quarter, he stole three passes, which helped the Cavaliers score 10 off Warriors turnovers.
After a fast start, the Cavaliers lost their rhythm offensively at times during the second quarter, and the Warriors took full advantage, pushing the lead to six points, 67-61, at halftime of Game 3.
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 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 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.
Third quarters were not kind to the 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 Warriors, but the opposite was true in Game 3.
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 Irving’s explosive, aggressive pursuit of the basket, and the veteran guard 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.