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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 24 September 2020

The Warriors were mostly terrible last night but still lead the Cavs 3-0

The NBA finals are as good as over as Golden State are now just one game away from the title.

Last night was the Kevin Durant game of this year's playoffs.
Last night was the Kevin Durant game of this year's playoffs.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

FOR MUCH OF Wednesday night’s game three of the NBA finals, it looked like the Cleveland Cavaliers would play their way back into the series.

LeBron James had his now traditional triple-double — a record breaking 10th in an NBA finals.

Kevin Love added a double-double of his own and even role players like Rodney Hood — who only played four minutes in the first two games combined — had 15 points while JR Smith added another 13.

For the Golden State Warriors, it felt like a night off for most of their starters with Steph Curry starting the game 0-for-9 from beyond the arc just one game removed from scoring an NBA record nine three-pointers in a single finals game.

His shooting partner Klay Thompson was notably quiet too. Indeed, every Golden State player not named Kevin Durant combined for a horribly inefficient 3-for-17 from distance.

But this 110-102 victory to give the Warriors a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series will be forever known as the KD game.

After a relatively lacklustre opening to the finals, Durant exploded for 43 points in 43 minutes in game three, shooting 6-for-9 from three.

When he scored 13 points and made all seven of the Warriors’ rebounds in the first quarter, the Cavs probably should have known they were in trouble.

In total, he finished 43-13-7 and knocked down this three-point effort with less than a minute to go to kill the game, and the finals as a contest. And he did so from almost the exact same spot and with the exact same shot he did in last year’s finals.

If the Cavaliers were to have any hope in this series, they needed to win game three.

“We had our chances,” LeBron James said when it was all done and dusted. He’s not wrong.

Even though we have seen these two sides clash four years in succession, there was still a lesson to be learned last night.

Sure, we already knew that Cleveland needed its role players to step-up and help James.

We already knew that Cleveland needed a terrible shooting night from the Warriors.

What we didn’t know is that, even at home, that wouldn’t be enough. Not when, arguably, the league’s second-best player decides he’ll take matters into his own hands.

Game four takes place in the early hours of Saturday morning.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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