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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# He's on fire
LeBron chips in with 40 points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals
Only five separated the Cavs and the Warriors in Cleveland.

THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS survived a last-quarter surge from the Golden State Warriors last night to win game three of the NBA Finals 96-91.

A 12-0 run from the Cavs blew the game apart in the third quarter but the Warriors fought back in Cleveland thanks to a 13-2 start to the fourth term, only for the hosts to hold on to claim a 2-1 series lead.

LeBron James top-scored for the Cavs with 40 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, while replacement point guard Matthew Dellavedova (20 points) produced another strong performance up against Warriors star Steph Curry (27).

Cleveland led by seven points at half-time at Quicken Loans Arena and set up their victory after the main break, with James and Dellavedova effectively beating Golden State on their own.

The pair were exclusively involved in the home team’s first eight scores of the quarter in terms of shooting and assists, while one of them produced the final pass or shot every time the Cavs added to their tally in the third stanza.

With David Lee coming off the bench to score seven of his nine points for the game in the fourth quarter, the Warriors got as close as one point when Curry sank a three-pointer with two minutes, 45 seconds left.

But in a perfect illustration of Dellavedova’s performance, the Australian bustled his way past Curry to sink a two-point floater in the next play, earning the foul and converting from the free-throw line to put Cleveland 84-80 ahead.

James was the next to score with a three-pointer, while in the final minute, Dellavedova dived on a loose ball from Curry, was fouled and sank both free throws to stretch the hosts’ lead to seven.

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Curry had been kept fairly quiet in the first three quarters but exploded in the last, scoring 17 points, including five threes to drag the visitors to 94-91 down with less than 20 seconds remaining.

Two late free throws from James put Cleveland five points clear, and it was enough to see them hold on. Cleveland host game four on Thursday.

NBA / YouTube

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