NBA Finals: G3 - Golden State's Fairy Tale Continues
Knock-Knock… it’s NBA history at the door.
The Golden State Warriors improved to an unprecedented 15-0 in the NBA playoffs with a thrilling 118-113 victory Wednesday night, fending off Cleveland’s best efforts in Game 3 of the Finals.
With just three minutes left in the fourth quarter, down by 6, the Golden State Warriors dug in deep and finished the game on an 11-0 run that deflated every Cavs fan in Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland led for most of the second half, as they looked to recreate last year’s comeback magic; but this has been a fairy tale season for Kevin Durant – who scored 7 of those final 11 points.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant combined for 87 points and hit 15 threes, but none were bigger than Durant’s shot to take the lead with 45 seconds remaining.
"All I was looking at was the bottom of the net.” Durant said. “I've been working on that shot my whole life. To see that go in, that was liberating, man. We've got one more to go."
No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit in NBA history, and Cleveland will have their work cut out for them trying to pull off that feat against this juggernaut squad.
The Cavaliers played their best game of the series and it still was simply not enough. LeBron James was a force for the entirety of the game, bulldozing his way into the lane before finishing with dexterity and grace. After a poor first few games, Kyrie Irving was spectacular and should consider opening his own bank after how many times his shots perfectly kissed the glass. Kevin Love finished 1-9 from the field, but he found a way to impact the game in other ways with 4 offensive rebounds and 6 steals. Even J.R. Smith got going in this one, hitting 5 threes after putting up a goose egg in Game 2.
They did everything right! Well…everything except win.
The school yard bully Warriors just would not go away. No matter how many times Irving banked in dazzling layups, or how many times James whipped no look passes to open shooters who drained threes, Golden State always had an answer.
In the first quarter, when James got hot and scored 15 points, Thompson bested him with 16 of his own. When Cleveland attempted to expose the Warriors' lone flaw, starting center Zaza Pachulia (who had an awful game), Golden State put Draymond Green at center and ran the Cavs into the ground. When the game got chippy and Cleveland tried to use their edge in size to frustrate the Warriors, the quadrant of All-Stars stayed composed and used Cleveland’s over-aggressiveness to their advantage.
The Warriors have had an answer at every turn thus far in the playoffs, and with this win the narrative has shifted. This series is no longer about the Warriors vs. Cavaliers – up 3-0, this one is pretty much in the books. The narrative now, is how the 2017 Golden State Warriors stack up against the all-time greats.
For Cleveland, having their backs against the wall in the Finals is not an unfamiliar feeling. However, this one feels a little different. If the Cavs can come back and win this, it would be the greatest comeback in NBA history.