In Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. LeBron James gave everything he could to help his team avoid falling in such a hole, but the Cavs did not have enough in the tank to keep up with Golden State’s high-powered offense.
At the end of the first quarter, the two teams combined for 71 points, with the Warriors holding a 39-32 lead. LeBron James and Klay Thompson brought the early excitement to the game. Thompson has been finding his rhythm in the finals after struggling with his shot in the Warriors previous three playoff series. Both James and Thompson had 16 first-quarter points. Thompson ended up tallying 30 points by the end of the game, and he also knocked down six of the Warriors 16 three-points shots.
The game remained close and competitive through the entire second quarter, but the Warriors were able to maintain the lead for the entire first half. The Warriors also broke two NBA Finals records in the first half by knocking down nine three-pointers in the first quarter and knocking down a total of 12 for the entire half. According to CBS Sports, “the previous record was seven” for the first quarter three-point record. At the end of the half, the Warriors held a 67-61 lead over the Cavs.
In the second half, the Cavaliers began to provide the necessary help for Lebron James to take a lead during the third quarter. With Kyrie Irving finally coming to life, the team was able to outscore the Warriors by 11 points in the third quarter to take a 94-89 lead heading into the fourth.
J.R. Smith shot the ball well from outside through the first three quarters to add some firepower from the perimeter as well. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavs had completely taken over the momentum of the game.
In the fourth quarter throughout the entire 2017 Playoffs, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry have been lights out. Coming into the game, the Warriors were riding a perfect 15-0 playoff record. Also, Durant and Curry’s performances in Games 1 and 2 had the world already speculating if they were the best duo in NBA history.
Well, in the fourth quarter of the Game 3, they continued to make that argument a worthy topic. Stephen Curry had a total of 30 points in the game as he continues to make the world of basketball fans forget about his performance in last year’s NBA Finals. In the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers led the Warriors by six with a score of 113-107, and then came KD to the rescue.
Indeed, the 2017 NBA Finals have been exciting to watch the benefits of Durant joining the Warriors. Last summer, when he decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors, most people saw the move as a weak one for the superstar. Almost a year later, Durant is one game away from winning his first NBA championship.
In the final 45 seconds of Game 3, Kevin Durant hit a three-point dagger that put the Cavs out of their misery for good. The shot put the Warriors up 114-113, and they never looked back. KD scored a team-high 31 points. The final score of the game was 118-113 in the Warriors favor. They’ve taken a commanding lead in the series and will look to wrap things up in Cleveland in Game 4 to complete a series sweep.
Coach Steve Kerr had this to say about KD after the game (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune).
“He took over. You can tell, he knows this is his moment. He’s been an amazing player in this league for a long time, and he senses this is his time, his moment, his team.”
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]