2018 NBA Finals
Kevin Durant’s 43 points were too much for the Cavs to handle, as the Warriors earned a 110-102 Game 3 win in the 2018 NBA Finals. (Andrew Bernstein/Getty Images)

After digging themselves into a 2-0 series hole, the Cleveland Cavaliers came out re-energized for their home crowd in Game 3. However, despite their valiant effort, it simply still wasn’t enough to beat the Golden State Warriors, as they stole Game 3 110-102 along with grabbing a firm 3-0 series lead in the 2018 NBA Finals.

As was expected, the Cavs opened the game with much more energy as compared to the first two matchups at Oracle. It was evident that LeBron James came out looking to get his teammates involved early, and it gave the whole team an early boost as a result. Both Kevin Love and J.R. Smith were able to find their strokes early, each putting up seven points in the first period.

Cleveland came out hot on offense, knocking down five of their first six shots from the field as a team. Quicken Loans Arena was electric early, especially after a ridiculous LeBron James self alley-oop which gave them the injection of energy they needed.

While it was chippy between Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson again and Stephen Curry picked up two fouls halfway through the quarter, the Warriors were able to weather the Cavs’ early surge. Kevin Durant came out laser-focused and was able to keep Golden State in the game with Curry and Klay Thompson starting out flat, a theme that would remain true for the full 48 minutes. KD posted a strong 13 point, 7 rebound period to keep Golden State within one point at the end of the quarter.

LeBron’s unselfishness carried into the second period as did the struggles of Thompson and Curry. Jordan Bell came off the bench and provided a much-needed spark for the Warriors as he has all postseason. With Curry and Draymond Green both with three fouls midway through the second, the Cavs were able to be aggressive and it showed on the glass as they carved out a 28 to 16 rebounding edge at the half.

Another early storyline was the emergence of largely forgotten wing Rodney Hood, who had been racking up DNPs often during Cleveland’s playoff run. Hood was able to come in and immediately provide a scoring punch from the perimeter, hitting four of his first five field goal attempts.

The Cleveland lead ballooned up to well over double digits thanks to the play of Hood, the distribution of James, and a 15-10 first half double-double from Kevin Love. Still, Durant poured in 11 more points in the second, helping Golden State whittle the lead down to just six heading into the halftime break.

Thr third quarter began in typical Warriors fashion, as they came out throwing haymakers from the start en-route to an unsurprising 17-6 run. However, the difference between Cavs’ role players at home versus the road was evident, as they were able to stay in the game despite it looking like Golden State was on the verge of pulling away.

Instead of the usual onslaught from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, it was center JaVale McGee who made the biggest impact early in the third. After putting up 12 points in Game 2, McGee responded again in Game 3, posting 10 points with eight of them coming in the third.

It became evident that Cleveland’s defense was starting to collapse as it had throughout the campaign and the red-hot Kevin Durant continued to take advantage. Though Cleveland was able to hang in there due to the putrid play of Thompson and especially Curry, KD kept his foot to the pedal and carried 34 points into the final stanza along with a slim 83-81 edge for the Warriors.

Things ramped up in the fourth quarter, as Rodney Hood continued to provide an unexpected lift to Cleveland’s offense and would finish with 15 points in 25 minutes. James began also looking for his own shot more on his way to another triple-double but on the other end, Durant remained simply unconscious.

The score remained neck and neck until the final couple minutes, spearheaded by a Steph Curry triple, his first of the evening after missing his first 10 attempts from beyond the arc.

From there, all it took was a few errant shots from the Cavs and a dagger three from Kevin Durant to secure the Game 3 win for Golden State and an almost insurmountable 3-0 series lead. Durant would finish with a playoff career-high 43 points to go along with 13 rebounds.

As we all know, no one in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 series deficit, let alone in the NBA Finals. Even though we have seen LeBron James do the unthinkable before, this may be too daunting of a task as the Cavs now find themselves on the verge of being swept. Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Finals will take place in Cleveland on Friday at 9 PM.

Subscribe

Subscribe now to our newsletter