The Cavaliers and Warriors are meeting for the fourth consecutive NBA Finals, with Golden State having won titles in 2015 and 2017 while Cleveland captured the 2016 crown, rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the greatest comeback in finals history.
Back in 2016, the Cavs were on top of the National Basketball Association world, celebrating a championship with a parade that filled the streets of downtown Cleveland after their historic comeback led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
Kevin Durant was too much for James and Co., as he tallied 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and drilled a dagger three-pointer from well beyond the arc in the closing stretch.
Curry shot just 3 for 16 but he made a layup with the Warriors down one and followed with his only 3-pointer of the game for a four-point lead with a little more than 2 ½ minutes remaining.
"We believe", Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue said on Tuesday. JaVale McGee was the spark for the Warriors early in the game as he rolled to the basket with regularity to finish with 12 points on six of six shooting, but the real boost came from Klay Thompson who scored 20 points on eight of 13 shooting despite dealing with a high ankle sprain he suffered in Game 1. Smith even spent time on ESPN's "First Take" detailing how James could end up in Golden State.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time field goals playoff record.
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Game 3 was an exhibition of the latter for the Warriors, with their trademark third-quarter spurt.
In Game 3 a year ago, Durant nailed a 26-footer that put the Warriors up one.
"I think there's a good chance he'll play", Kerr said.
Every time LeBron James loses an NBA Finals game, there is something that someone could have done better to push the team over the edge. "I mean different feel", said Durant who shot 15-of-23 and scored 24 points before halftime to keep the Cavs within striking distance. But they fail to realize the level of performance demanded of him during these games. They play free, without much angst when things don't go well, adding to what James called "the level of stress" for opponents. He was 2-2 in four trips to the NBA Finals with Miami.
The Cavaliers don't have answers for Durant or the Warriors motion, and this series is now all but over.