Cavs' best effort not good enough to beat the Warriors

The Golden State Warriors rallied late for a 118-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday to grab a commanding 3-0 NBA Finals lead and move within one game of postseason perfection.

However, the Cleveland Cavaliers still have some guy named LeBron James playing small forward for them.

J.R. Smith came out of wherever he and his funk had been and made five threes. "Much more physical than we were in Game 1, and we forced them into 20 turnovers and they still beat us pretty good, so we've got to be much better too".

That remained a possibility the entire game Wednesday night - until the closing minutes, when the Warriors ripped the Cavaliers hearts out. It wasn't 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.

But the heavy minutes Cleveland's superstars were forced to play may have taken their toll down the stretch.

Kevin Durant scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, as Golden State overcame a six-point Cavs lead in the final three minutes. For the Cavaliers, a win would be the first step toward becoming the first National Basketball Association team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the Finals. Do things - I don't want to say differently because you work so hard to get to this point - but make a couple of changes to see if we can be a lot better defensively and offensively.

"We had a game that we had won that we let slip away", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

LeBron James finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Kyrie Irving added 38 for the Cavs, who went scoreless over the game's final 3:09. Point guard Steph Curry scored 26 points and led the team in rebounding with 13.

In the first quarter, James had a team-high 15 points, including this thunderous dunk between Kevin Durant and JaVale McGee. But protecting the lead meant leaving Irving on the floor for the entire second half and James for all but a few seconds of it, and on the other bench Steve Kerr kept reminding his deeper Warriors that the Cavaliers were going to get exhausted. The last time the Warriors lost with F Kevin Durant healthy was February 13 in Denver, prior to the All-Star break. G Deron Williams has missed each of his 11 shots in the series. "I gave everything that I had, so at times throughout the game I was exhausted, but that's just because I was just playing as hard as I could". (Yes, we know that Kyrie Irving REALLY got going later). "We missed some shots, and they made some".

If not for their meltdown past year, the Warriors, whose record-setting 73-win season got lost in the Finals aftermath, would be looking for a third straight crown. He delivered another performance that reminded everyone he remains the NBA's best player.


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