CLEVELAND (KRON) — Cleveland needed everybody at the top of their game Wednesday night and for everything to go their way to win Game 3, and it did — for 44 minutes and 51 seconds.
An 11-0 run by the Warriors in the last 3:09 helped them steal the first game in Cleveland, 118-113, and take a controlling 3-0 lead in the Finals.
Kevin Durant hit a pull-up three over Lebron James with 45.3 seconds left in the game to give the Warriors a 114-113 lead.
“I’ve been working on that shot my whole life,” Durant said postgame. “And for that to go in was just liberating.”
Durant came out hot in the first quarter, hitting two triples in the first 150 seconds. But at the start of the final frame, he had just 17 points. Then, Durant showed everyone who he is and why the Warriors gave up so much to get him by scoring 14 points in the fourth.
Although Durant and the Dubs got the last laugh, the Cavs dynamic duo of Lebron James and Kyrie Irving was simply unstoppable for most of the game, combining for 77 points on 55 percent shooting, the most points by a duo in a Finals loss in NBA history.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, neither of the former No. 1 picks scored after James’ two free throws at the 4:28 mark in the last period.
Swingman Klay Thompson got a crucial defensive stop on Irving with less than 30 seconds to go that sealed the game for the Warriors.
“I think that I just did a good job of not falling for any of his moves because he’s real shifty,” Thompson said. “(I) just stayed in front of him and luckily he missed the shot.”
As a team, Cleveland shot 44 percent from the field and 27 percent on threes compared to Golden State’s 48 percent clip in both categories.
Splash brothers Thompson and Stephen Curry totaled for 11 of the Warriors 16 threes on the night with Thompson having the hot hand early, erupting for 16 points in the opening period before finishing the game with 30 points.
Curry finished with 26 points and tied Kevin Love with a game-high 13 rebounds.
“That was a great feeling to kind of overcome their run, the crowd’s energy and just find a way to win,” Curry said on the closing stretch of the game. “It was kind of — I don’t know, kind of peaceful, really.”
Many of the Warriors players credited the win to their team’s defense and ability to get stops when they were needed and having held the Cavs scoreless in the last 3:09 — they can certainly say so.
A heartbreaking loss for Cleveland, to say the least, which will likely not be able to muster another team performance like it did in Game 3.
But despite the win, a comfortable 3-0 lead and being 48 minutes away from a title and a perfect 16-0 playoff run, the Warriors know that finishing the deal is going to be hard.
“It’s not over. Job’s not done. Closeout games are always the toughest,” Durant said. “We still got a lot of work left to do (and) got to be even better in Game 4 if we want to take this.”
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