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Kevin Durant: Only 'small details' left for next Warriors deal

08 Juin 2018

But Durant's showing Wednesday was remarkable, and Curry submitted one of his worst games of the postseason.

Stephen Curry #30 and Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors celebrate with Kevin Durant #35 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second half during Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 6, 2018 in Cleveland.

Durant, the 2017 Finals MVP, faced criticism during the Western Conference Finals for his preference to shoot rather than pass.

Cleveland did what it had been saying it would do for two days - come out better on home court - and the Cavs led for the entire first half, thanks in part to awful shooting from the Warriors. The Cavs' reign lasted only one year, destroyed by Durant's shocking departure from Oklahoma City for the 73-win Warriors, a team he couldn't beat but was glad to join.

LeBron James needs 13 rebounds and eight assists in Game 4 if he wants to average a triple double in the Finals for the second straight time. "That's the challenge. You know, that's why they've retooled this team, went out and got K.D.to where there's really not much pressure on ..."

Yes, there was a baseline presumption at the beginning of every season that these two teams would meet, but that overlooked the fact that at any point on those team's respective journeys, something internal or external could have prevented the two team's paths from intersecting in the summer. Not everyone - not everyone except LeBron, anyway - can have a good game every game.

I selfishly was hoping Durant would leave. They have just one more shot to extend the series; if nothing more, they're playing for pride now. Some of them are the first in their families to go to college. With its Game 3 win, Golden State tied LeBron's Miami Heat for the most playoff series with at least one road win (19).

The Warriors won despite a 3-of-16 shooting performance from Curry, who did come up big down the stretch as the Cavs were trying to salvage their season.

James, still focused on the opponent in front of him, lauded the Warriors. It takes near-perfection for 48 minutes to beat them.

On nights like Wednesday, when Curry was mostly awful, Durant can play the one-on-one style that not long ago had some analysts briefly questioning his future in Golden State.

As LeBron says, the margin for error is slim but, for the Warriors, it is vast.

The Cavaliers shouldn't even be thinking about the Larry O'Brien trophy right now.

The Warriors have been far from ideal.

The end of the series, season and maybe his second stint in Cleveland, are near. Again, that's the difference.

The third quarter would start, and the Warriors would put their foot on the gas.

Cavaliers fans waited outside the Warriors' team hotel after the loss apparently to heckle the players. On the glass, the Cavs dominated the Warriors, winning the rebounding battle 56-41, including a 15-6 advantage on the offensive side. In Game 3, Durant's precision was too much to overcome.

"I thought we played a good first half", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

Cleveland led Golden State 58-52 after two quarters, with Durant netting a game-high 24 points. "I think that was mostly it".

Maybe, on Friday, it will be both. Cleveland will have a tough time beating Golden State straight up; a three-point barrage could help tilt that math in its favor.

For a Toronto-based sports writer, it is an odd feeling to come to Cleveland and see the home team as heavy underdogs. We haven't gotten close to peeking Golden State's. The Warriors are 8-18 ATS in their last 26 games following a win and 1-1 ATS in their last five games overall. If Golden State wins, it'll be their third National Basketball Association championship in four years.

Kevin Durant: Only 'small details' left for next Warriors deal