Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James, in his sixth consecutive finals, added 11 rebounds and six assists while Irving, who only had 10 points in game two, hit 16 in the opening quarter, had eight assists and the Cavaliers used smothering defense to ignite a fast-paced attack.
This is the second NBA Finals to have each of the first three games decided by at least 15 points.
The Golden State Warriors now hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. He also was in foul trouble again, committing more silly, easily avoidable fouls.
Although their two leading scorers, James and Irving, combined for just six points in the second quarter, the Cavaliers got six each from Smith and Thompson in the second quarter.
The league says teams have to win four games to win a series, but he’s right nonetheless. “Just didn’t go out and execute the way I wanted to”. Game 4 is Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
“We were soft”, said coach Steve Kerr. “We’re turning the ball over like insane”. The Cavaliers were 8-of-10 and outscored the Warriors by 10 points in the paint in the first quarter. “He’s trying to figure out a way to get me going”.
Curry was 1-of-5 shooting in the first half, with two points and three turnovers in the portion of the game where the Cavs took control.
“He was a gentle giant”, Kerr said. Certainly, they made it this far with Curry playing through a Murphy’s law postseason in which he has missed time with ankle and knee injuries.
“I’m fine”, he insisted later.
LeBron specifically was unbelievably aggressive attacking the pass out of a trap, and he’s one of the few players that can play free safety like that and not get burned most of the time.
The Cavaliers stood with him.
Cleveland started out stunningly well, storming to a 20-point first-quarter lead and resurrecting a moribund series by closing within 2-1.
Thompson got set and fired.
With the Cavaliers having such a different outcome against Golden State with Kevin Love sitting out, the Twitter chatter began about whether or not to sit Kevin Love for Game 4 before Wednesday’s game even concluded. The Cavs gave a much more focused effort on the defensive end, and their physicality seemed to catch the Warriors off guard early. “We deserve it tonight”.
“We weren’t tough enough”, Kerr said. Especially when you have some of the best athletes in the world involved, and they’ve worked way too hard in their lives to try and get embarrassed on their home floor.
Nothing like their best stuff, either. “So I don’t think it made a difference”. He did, however, praise Richard Jefferson, who stepped into the starting lineup. We weren’t ready to play.
“It was that first eight to 10 minutes where they came out with a huge punch and we didn’t handle it well at all”, Curry said. J.R. Smith (20 points) and Tristan Thompson (14 points, 13 rebounds) rounded out the big nights for Cleveland.
Seconds later, Thompson sustained a left thigh contusion from being hit by Timofey Mozgov’s illegal screen, sending him to the locker room briefly.
Tyronn Lue challenged his team prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Earlier in the game, he dominated in the paint. Over the next three quarters, the Warriors put on a clinic by outscoring their opponents, 91-56, to take the 2-0 series lead.