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Warriors top Cavaliers and move to brink of NBA title

08 Juin 2017

James said at the Cleveland Cavaliers' shootaround Wednesday in advance of Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors. Tonight the Cavs reminded us that they are a damn good team too.

But when the Cavs desperately needed points to stop the bleeding, James missed a lay-up, a turnaround fadeaway and a potential game-tying 3-pointer that was stripped by Andre Igoudala.

The thrilling back-and-forth affair was the first close game of the finals, but the Cavaliers will now have to do what no National Basketball Association team has ever done in the playoffs, win four straight games after going down 0-3 in a series. From 1991-1993, the Bulls had their first three-peat. The current No. 2 is the Los Angeles Lakers, who sent 81-16 in 1971-72. The Warriors can close out the series on Saturday, June 10 at 9 am (Manila time) in Cleveland. Plus the Lakers had a three-peat from 2000-2002. Yet they still couldn't beat the Warriors.

The first two games have shown a stark difference in depth. It is more athletic but also more finesse, so in some ways comparing past teams to current ones is like comparing Hope watermelons to Bald Knob strawberries. He's more active on both ends than he has ever been, whether it's beating LeBron James on backdoor cuts or providing great defensive help with his 7-5 wingspan.

The list goes on and on. For Durant, his decision last summer to join the Warriors as a free agent had led to nationwide backlash against him, and a mandate to win a championship this season. Obviously, he didn't feel he could do that with the Thunder. The dynamic duo, Steph Curry, 29, and Kevin Durant, 28, came out on fire, and were almost impossible to control on both, offense and defense. That's a huge improvement over where the Warriors were previous year. Harrison Barnes, the guy he replaced, scored 65 in seven Finals games in 2016.

James passed Sam Jones (1,143 points), Bill Russell (1,151 points) and Elgin Baylor (1,161 points) for fourth place in Finals history in scoring, and Russell (315 assists) for third all-time in Finals assists.

Cleveland has made an appearance in each of the past three NBA Finals including this year's. If Kevin Love isn't hurt with two minutes left in the game, maybe they are able to hang on and win. The Warriors attempted 33 of them, making 16. 49%. He hadn't reached double figures in points or rebounds this year in the first two games combined.

James, Kyrie Irving Kevin Love are going to play an important role for Cavs while Curry and Durant will be eager to continue their form in Game 3 as well. If Irving comes out at least a tad bit stronger and the Cleveland crowd ratcheted up the intensity, it might be enough for them to get three wins.

Warriors top Cavaliers and move to brink of NBA title