Fri, Jun 08, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Warriors take 3-0 lead in the Finals

DEJA VU:Durant’s 10m three-pointer in the last minute that cemented the Warriors’ win was eerily similar to the one he made from the same spot in Game 3 last year


Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors attempts a jumper over Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio.

Photo: AFP

Kevin Durant pushed the Golden State Warriors to dynasty’s doorstep, but LeBron James might be at the door.

Durant on Wednesday scored 43 points, draining a long three-pointer in the final minute to cap his magnificent performance, as the Warriors beat James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-102 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals to move within a victory of a sweep, their second straight title and third championship in four years.

No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.

With the Cavs down 103-100, Durant stood defiantly and almost motionless after dropping from 10m — almost from the same spot from where he hit one in Game 3 last year — and effectively ended the fourth straight Finals matchup between the two teams.

After Durant scored, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green surrounded him and screamed at their teammate, who calmly walked toward the bench.

“I tried to just stay in the zone,” Durant said, adding that he was nervous the Cavs could come back.

Durant said that the similarity with last year’s shot did not occur to him.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I just took the shot.”

Golden State will now have four chances to wrap up their title starting with Game 4 tonight. The Warriors are trying to join a select list of teams to win three championships in four years.

James scored 33 points and Kevin Love added 20 for the Cavs, who have fallen into a hole in which no team has ever emerged. Cleveland came back from a 3-1 deficit to stun the Warriors in the 2016 finals, but that was when Durant was in Oklahoma City and James had a different supporting cast.

“We had our chances,” James said. “You can’t make mistakes. They’re not going to beat themselves.”

These Cavs cannot figure it out.

Durant, who tilted this rivalry toward the west coast when he signed with the Warriors as a free agent before last season, was brilliant from the start. He helped offset a rough night for Curry, who made a Finals-record nine three-pointers in Game 2, but was just 1-10 from behind the arc and did not score his second field goal until there were less than three minutes left.

Curry’s scoop shot put the Warriors up 98-97 and defensive specialist Andre Iguodala, who did not play in Games 1 or 2 because of a knee injury, came up with a steal under the basket. Curry finally buried a three and after James matched him with a long shot, Iguodala drove the lane for a thundering dunk.

Moments later, Durant delivered his dagger to silence Cleveland’s crowd.

“The shot clock was running down, I was pretty far out, I just wanted to get a look,” Durant said. “I didn’t want to run there and shoot a bad shot, fall on the ground and they got numbers going the other way so I decided to pull up.”

James made a layup to pull the Cavs within four, but it was too little too late, as the Warriors closed it out and beat Cleveland for the fourth straight time in Finals games.

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