Last night, there was finally a competitive game in the Finals. But the outcome was the same as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113 to take a 3-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. No team in the history of the NBA has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit so things are not looking great for the Cavs. Although, no team in the history of the NBA had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to win the championship until last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers, so there’s that. Here are some of the main talking points for the game.
1. LeBron James & Kyrie Irving
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both played their best games of the series. LeBron just missed a record 9th NBA Finals triple double finishing with 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. Kyrie had 38 points. The Cavs also got good games from Kevin Love and J.R. Smith but still managed to lose the game.
2. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant took some flack when he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors this past offseason. People wondered whether winning a title with the Warriors would matter, seeing as how he was joining a record setting team that was very likely one crotch tap away from a title without him. But seeing as how Kevin Durant has dominated these NBA finals to the extent that some people are suggesting he might now be the best player on the planet, it seems like his reputation will be just fine. Also, last night, he all but wrapped up the NBA Finals MVP (assuming the Warriors close it out this year) with this gutsy 3-pointer.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 8, 2017
3. The Splash Brothers
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson also had great games last night, with Steph scoring 26 points and Klay Thompson scoring 30. Steph is having a great series and would be the favorite to win Finals MVP if not for Durant’s crazy goodness. And Klay, who has played great defense but struggled offensively for most of the playoffs, followed up his 22 point Game 2 outing with a spectacular Game 3. It seems he may finally be out of his offensive funk.
4. Late Game Execution
The Cavs made a couple of plays down the stretch of the game that lost them this game, but none may have been more crucial than the possession after Durant hit his 3. With 45 seconds left, the Cavs should have been playing for a 2 for 1. For those who don’t know, a 2 for 1 is an end of the game (or quarter) strategy where the team with the ball works to get a good shot early in the possession to make sure they get the last possession of the quarter. Teams have 24 seconds to shoot, so if the Cavs had taken a shot with about 30-35 seconds left, that means at worst, they’d have had 6 or 7 seconds left for the final possession and a shot to win or send the game into overtime. Instead, what they got was this:
Kyrie Irving overdribbled and took way too long to get a shot. When he missed the 3, the Warriors rebounded with barely any difference between the shot clock and the game clock, meaning that the Cavs were forced to foul. The Cavs still had a chance to tie the game after the free throws, but this play was probably the biggest mistake of the game for the Cavs.
Now that the Warriors have won Game 3, the talk of a possible sweep and an incredible undefeated run through the post-season is in play. An undefeated playoff run would solidify this Warriors team as one of the greatest teams of all time.
6. The Kardashian Curse
Tristan Thompson continued his abysmal play, once again going scoreless and grabbing only 3 rebounds. He’s been so bad, that even commentators are bringing up the Kardashian Curse now. Here is a clip of the post-game analysis. Skip to the 1:26 mark to see Jalen Rose’s take.
7. The Bachelorette
It was reported this past week that current Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay dated Kevin Durant during college. Apparently, they broke up so she could go to law school. What does this say about the NBA Finals? Nothing really, I just thought it was interesting. Worlds colliding and all that.
Hope this helps you talk about the game. Game 4 is Friday night, so check back over the weekend for your Game 4 cheat sheet.
Image: Los Angeles Times