The Cleveland Cavaliers beat down the Golden State Warriors in game 3 of the NBA Finals 120 -90, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and JR Smith were the leading scorer for the Cavs, the Cavs starters outscored the Warriors starters 105-57. The Warriors lead the NBA Finals 2-1.
The Cavs held the lead for the entire game, and it was the team’s first win against Warriors in the last seven tries. Even better for Cleveland, the outscored the Warrior 23-3 in second chance points, no question about the Cavs effort.
James as expected, had a terrific game 3 in the Cavs first home games of these finals. James delivered 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assist. James hit his first four shots, which not only got his team excited, but the crowd involved. James had been struggling in the finals, not up to his usual 30 point performances. Now it seems he may have found some momentum.
“Coaching staff gave us a great game plan and we executed it for 48 minutes,” James said. “We’ve got to give the same effort on Friday, It started defensively and it trickled down to the offensive side.”
Irving’s 30 points came in the most crucial time, his 8 assist were even more effective. Irving’s night was totally different from the previous two games. In those games, Irving shot 31 and 35 field goal percentage, during game 3, Irving shot a 48 field goal percentage.
“He attacked early,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We got the ball up the floor with great pace. He was able to attack in transition. And even versus the switches, he really attacked quicker so they couldn’t load up on him. He really attacked quick, and got downhill and got into the paint.”
Smith and forward Richard Jefferson, who started in place of an injured Kevin Love, together scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Smith 20 points came with 5 made three point shots, and when he was on the court, the Cavs lead the Warriors by 33 points. That is the highest plus minus point differential in the NBA finals so far.
“Since we landed (in Cleveland) the other day, it was pretty much a clean slate,” Smith said. “Get back in the gym, get back to my routines, drive the same route I go to the gym every day.”
The Warriors should be ashamed of themselves, no excuses. To play a road game in the NBA Finals, when you know the Cavs are going to give you their best effort, the Warriors were no ready for the challenge.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Obviously they just punched us right in the mouth right in the beginning. We’re turning the ball over like crazy.
Stephen Curry must be in pain, he hasn’t appeared aggressive and that might be due to his knees. Curry missed six games early rounds of the NBA playoffs, and last night in the first quarter only scored two points. Curry scored 17 points in the second half (not good for the Cavs to help him get comfortable).
“There’s a sense of urgency knowing how big Game 4 is and I need to be ready,” Curry said.
Curry can’t rely on the depth of the Warriors bench to help him. Curry and Klay Thompson have had enough time to rest, while the other players are contributing. It is now time for them to play up to the level basketball fans are accustomed to seeing.
“We’re in great shape,” Curry said. “Not the way we wanted tonight to go, myself included. We’re glad we obviously took care of home court so we’re still in good position.”
Kevin Love is taking way to much blame this morning. Yes the defense played better with Jefferson in the line-up and the team seemed to play more effectively. That right there however, is the reason it makes no sense to pic the Cavs to win this series. Why does it matter who is on the court to do your job?
Yes players need to be comfortable with the players on the court, and Love can limit the defense of the Cavs at times. Unless Love has been unwilling to play a certain style, it makes no sense for the Cavs to play that much better and harder without him. This is the NBA Finals, how much motivation do you need?
Kevin Love’s plus minus for the NBA Finals is -16, meaning the Cavs have been trailing a combined 16 points when Love is on the floor. When Smith is on the floor the Cavs are ahead 3 points, in the first two games Smith’s plus/minus was a combined -30. James and Irving may have saved the day, but there is clearly tension in the locker room and that is not all Love’s fault.
Game 4 will be in Cleveland Friday June 10th on ABC.