Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Durant's dagger 3 lifts Warriors over Cavaliers in Game 3

Durant's dagger 3 lifts Warriors over Cavaliers in Game 3

But it's one they had to have, and a series that wasn't living up to its hype and seemed headed for a quick conclusion is California bound for Game 5 on Monday night. Cleveland took Game 3 at home, lost Game 4 and then won the final three - Game 7 in Oakland - to capture the city's first sports championship since 1964.

The Cavaliers would be staring at the first of a near-impossible climb - no team has won in the National Basketball Association reversing a 0-3 deficit.

It was clear from opening tip that the Cavs did not want to see the Larry O'Brien handed to another team at the Q. They made a big statement in the opening quarter, erupting for an NBA Finals record 49 points. Even his detractors had to look on in awe Friday night as he recorded his ninth Finals triple-double, which pushed him past Magic Johnson for the most in history, with his 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Under the right Steve Jobs-inspired lens, losing can eventually become one small but essential part of a larger, more meaningful story.

The Cavaliers, on their home court for the first time in the series, led 113-107 with three minutes to go after swingman JR Smith knocked down a pivotal triple, but they proved to be the home team's last points of the night. Kyrie Irving was the game's leading scorer with 40 points and Kevin Love chipped in with 23 points for the Cavs. I know how exciting that's going to be for us as a team, but their fans are going to be into it.

Much has been made about the need for the Cavaliers role players to make an impact in the Finals.

The Cavs' offense went cold, while the Warriors chipped away at the lead.

Love, James, Irving combined for only one less point in the first half than the entire Warriors squad.

"We got some championship DNA", James added. James dropped to the floor and a hush fell over Cleveland's crowd as the three-time champ laid in the foul lane like a boxer sprawled on the canvas after taking an upper cut. "It's just fun", he said, "and I felt better".

That lead held until there was 2:19 remaining, when Golden State superstar Curry found two points with a drive to the basket.

Forgive the Golden State Warriors if they stubbornly focus on winning the National Basketball Association crown instead of the chance they become the first champion with an undefeated playoff charge.

The Cavs were determined not to let the Warriors sweep them, and it was Cleveland, not Golden State, which busted Finals scoring records in the first half. "They would all kill us". "Closeout games are always the toughest", he said.

However, Green apparently didn't share what he said to Durant in that phone call.

"Why not? If I become an owner, I'm going to try to sign everybody".

"I've been wokring on that shot my whole life, and for that one to go in, that's liberating", the forward told ESPN's Doris Goodwin after the game. He never got back to the Finals with the Thunder, and when he was finally ready to consider looking elsewhere, the Warriors offered him exactly what he wanted to hear when they sat down in the Hamptons and talked about where the former scoring champion fit in a lineup with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

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