Golden State Warriors took a commanding 3-0 series lead after storming back in the final minutes to beat the Cavaliers 118-113.
With their season on the line, the Cleveland Cavaliers turned in a superlative performance before a rollicking home crowd. It simply wasnat enough against one of the best teams in NBA history.
Trailing 113-107 with just over three minutes remaining, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combined for the final 11 points of the contest to steal the victory for Golden State. Durant and Klay Thompson paced the Warriors with 31 and 30 points, respectively; while Curry added 26, as that trio combined for all but one of Golden Stateas 16 three-pointers in the game. With the win, the Warriors remain undefeated in postseason play with a 15-0 record in playoffs.
LeBron James had 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Cavaliers, finishing one assist short of a record-breaking ninth career playoff triple double, while Kyrie Irving added 38 points.
The Warriors no doubt expected Clevelandas best shot in the early stages given the stakes and they got it. James pumped in 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting in the first quarter; including a thunderous dunk in transition over Durant and JaVale McGee.
He was aided by JR Smith, who had not made a shot in only five attempts over the previous 95 minutes of game action; but added a pair of three-pointers in the opening frame.
But when James went to the bench for a breather, the Warriors rattled off 10 straight points to extend a 39-32 lead at the end of the quarter. Cleveland was shooting 61.1% from the floor; and LeBron was off to a sizzling start, yet the Warriors were still leading by seven.
The Cavaliers had faded badly after half-time in the opening two games, but instead on Wednesday surged ahead behind more sensational play from James. That carried over into the fourth quarter, where they led 113-107 with three minutes left.
Warriors scored the gameas final 11 points over the last three minutes to erase a six-point deficit and stun the defending champions.
Kevin Durant takes the Warriors Home
12 seconds to play in Game 3. CLE ?Y? pic.twitter.com/47VReSvRcC
a NBA (@NBA) 8 June 2017
Durant splashed home Golden Stateas final three-pointer of the game to give the Warriors a lead they would never relinquish.
a?We got stops when we needed them,a? said Kevin Durant, who finished with a team-high 31 points.
Added Durant, who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter: a?Weave got one more win, weave got to keep going. We canat win this thing unless we do it together.a?
Klay Thompson had 30 points for the Warriors, Stephen Curry added 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
The Warriors are one win away from the first ever undefeated postseason, say nothing of a second championship in three years.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said : a?Overall, it was just an incredibly tough, resilient performance. It wasnat our smartest game that we have played all year, but it was maybe our toughest in terms of our ability to just hang in there.a?
Now the Warriors will look to finish the series, and their bid for a perfect postseason, in Friday nightas Game 4; a markedly shorter turnaround after no less than three-day breaks before the opening three games.
a?I think weall all be fine,a? Thompson said. a?This is the most minutes I think we played all year between me, Steph, and Kevin. And Coach Kerras done a great job managing our minutes. And we know whatas at stake, and thatas an NBA title.”