Cleveland jumped out to an early 10 point lead in the opening moments of Game three of the NBA Finals. Then a 12 point Cleveland lead with 7:38 left in the first quarter would have put a lot of road teams on their heels. The only problem was Golden State’s Kevin Durant had other plans. His 12 points kept the Warriors close, only down one after the first quarter.
Even as Cleveland took their biggest lead of the game at 50-37 with 4:06 remaining in the half, Golden State never panicked. Durant’s three pointer capped a 15-8 run to close out the half with the Cavaliers clinging to a six point lead. Everything seemed to being going right for Cleveland but Durant once again kept the Warriors within striking distance with 24 first half points.
Then the third quarter happened. Golden State got contributions from unlikely players like JaVale McGee and Jordan Bell to assist Durant. Cleveland saw their halftime lead turn into a two point deficit entering the fourth quarter. Although the deficit was not insurmountable, psychologically, it felt much bigger.
With Golden State down one with 3:11 remaining, Steph Curry made his mark on the game. He scored five consecutive points, including a deep three pointer to give the Warriors a four point cushion. With two minutes left holding a one point lead, Andre Iguodala’s dunk pushed Golden State’s lead back to three. The biggest play of the game came with 50 seconds remaining and the Warriors still up just three. With the shot clock running out, Kevin Durant calmly hit a 33 foot dagger to finish Cleveland off. The final nail in the coffin.
With Game four set to tip off tonight, Durant, Curry and the rest of the Warriors will look to now pile on the dirt. Cleveland got everything they could have hoped for on Wednesday night. LeBron James had a triple double, Kevin Love played well and even Rodney Hood gave them a surprise spark. On top of that, Curry and Klay Thompson both shot very poorly. It was the perfect recipe for the Cavs to get back into this series. Then Kevin Durant reminded us all that he is still the second best player in the world. Tonight we’ll find out if there’s any life left in the Cavs or if the “Slim Reaper” already finished them off.