LeBron James had 39 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists in Game 3 as the NBA Finals returned to Cleveland with the Cavs down 2-0 to the Warriors. Kyrie Irving had 38 points, six rebounds, and three assists of his own as the two Cleveland stars put up Herculean efforts on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t enough.
The Golden State Warriors, who trailed by five entering the fourth quarter, slowly picked their way back into the game in the fourth quarter as their stars heated up and the Cavaliers cooled off to earn a 118-113 win and take a 3-0 series lead. Klay Thompson started the game on fire, giving Steph Curry and Kevin Durant time to find their footing in the game. Thompson finished with 30, while Curry had 26, but for the third straight game the star of the show was Durant.
The biggest acquisition of the offseason had 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, taking over in the final minutes. Durant outscored the Cavaliers 7-0 in the final three minutes of the game as the Warriors reeled in Cleveland, and Durant’s pull-up dagger in the final minute gave them the lead for good — he added two free throws on the next possession to ice it.
Durant’s closing stretch negated the unbelievable efforts of Irving and James, who were nothing short of incredible in Game 3. Irving took over in the third quarter, putting the Cavaliers’ offense on his shoulders as they took the lead over the Warriors and won a third quarter for the first time all series (33-22). Uncle Drew’s status as the league’s best finisher at the rim was cemented as he carved up Golden State’s defense and made contested layup after contested layup.
Irving had 16 of his 38 in the third quarter, many of which cane on ridiculous finishes like that one in transition. James had 39 points of his own, as he carried the load for Cleveland in the first half with 27 points to keep them close so when the Kyrie show came alive in the third they could pounce on the lead.