Friday, June 09, 2017

For the Cavs, Game 3 Was Game Over

For the first time this Finals, the Golden State Warriors didn’t rout the Cleveland Cavaliers.  But they still got the Game 3 win though.  Up 3-0, it’s now all but certain that they are going to win their second championship in three years.

Only the most optimistic, or most delusional, of LeBron fans will see Game 3’s outcome as the setup for another epic comeback – the first time in NBA history that a team overcomes an 0-3 hole to win a playoff series.  That’s a possibility, of course – an unlikely possibility, but a possibility nonetheless.  Still, seriously, Cavs Nation should be space marine Private Hudson (after their drop ship crashed) at this point.
That's it, man.  Game over, man.  Game over!  What the f*@# are we gonna do now?  What are we gonna do? 

For most of the game, it seems that the Cavs and the refs are actually going to make a series out of this lopsided, Dubs-dominating Finals.  Their defense was a lot better than what it had been in the previous two games.  J.R. Smith was finally scoring.  They outscored the Dubs in the third quarter for the first time in this Finals.  They finally got to hold a second-half lead, and they were in the lead for most of the fourth quarter.

Kevin Love – who had 15 points and 21 rebounds in Game 1, and scored 27 points on 52% shooting in Game 2 – was ineffective in game three (9 points at 11% shooting).  He might have had his will drained from him after getting owned by Durant’s post defense and shaken by the Durant-to-McGee alley-oop dunk he witnessed up-close in Game 2.  However, the rest of the Cavs’ Big Three had a fantastic game.  Kyrie – 38 points on 55% shooting – had a couple of jawdropping layups, including a half-time buzzer beater where he went Kobe on every Warrior on the court (though there’s also a travel in there)…
Meanwhile, LeBron was in his usual LeBron-in-the-Finals form, ending up with 39 points on 56% shooting, 11 rebounds, and nine assists.  LeBron was so into the zone that even a bad pass ended up being a bucket while Love also got fouled on the act of shooting (so, plus two free throws)…
With just three minutes left, J.R. Smith shot a three-pointer that gave the Cavs a six-point lead.  The momentum was theirs.  It looked like they would get the win.  But that would be the last points the Cavs would make in that game.  During the rest of the way, Kyrie missed a layup coming from another dazzling drive, LeBron missed a post-up turnaround jumper, Korver missed a corner trey attempt set by LeBron, and Kyrie missed a stepback three-pointer while being defended excellently by Klay Thompson, as usual.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry and likely Finals MVP Kevin Durant proceeded to score eleven straight points, the highlight of which is a Durant clutch trey that gave the Dubs the lead with 45 seconds left in the game…
He would later add a pair of free throws to extend the lead to three with 13 seconds left.  Then, with a chance to tie the game, 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala did something as electrifying and vital for the win as Durant’s three-pointer:
Blocking LeBron and forcing the turnover!
Curry would cap the 11-0 run with a pair of free-throws.

So, yeah, the Dubs got this.  The championship is inevitable.  The only thing left for the Cavs is to at least win Game 4.  That way, they can frustrate the Dubs from setting a 16-0 playoff record (which would definitely be more fulfilling to them than last year’s 73-9 regular season record).

But I doubt that.  This is going to be a sweep.  Game 3 will haunt Cavs Nation this off-season.  But, hey, at least, Kyle Korver got to make a rare dunk…
Even Draymond Green and David West were pleased.

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