NBA Finals 2018 Live: Cavs vs. Warriors Game 3 Updates


Durant pulled down his 13th rebound on a LeBron James miss, and then he fed Draymond Green for a huge dunk that got the Warriors’ lead back up to five. Tristan Thompson snuck a hook shot over JaVale McGee’s outstretched fingers, but Durant answered with a turnaround jumper that gave him 34 points for the game.

The scary thing about the sequence as far as Cleveland is concerned is that they were playing extremely well on both ends, but somehow are still down five points.

3rd Quarter: Warriors Take the Lead

A run of nine consecutive points by Golden State was broken up by Kevin Love making a free-throw courtesy of a 3-second violation by JaVale McGee. That seemed to wake up Cleveland, who then forced a turnover and got a great finish on a layup by Tristan Thompson, who was fouled on the play but couldn’t connect on his free-throw attempt.

But the Warriors have owned the third quarter all season, and they didn’t allow the momentum to swing. McGee got into double-figures with a 1-footer, which put Golden State back on top, and Kevin Durant blocked a shot by LeBron James to put the Warriors back on offense. After a foul, Draymond Green fed Kevin Durant for an easy two points, and on an ensuing possession Green put Golden State up by five with a layup. Ty Lue once again called a timeout, frustrated with a game that was starting to slip away. The Warriors are up 17-6 in the quarter so far.

3rd Quarter: Warriors Turn on the Jets

The Cavaliers finally got their first free-throw attempt in the first minute of the second half, and LeBron James made it. That was about the only good thing in the start of the half for Cleveland, as the Warriors got six quick points from JaVale McGee and a long 3-pointer from Kevin Durant. The 9-3 run has Golden State tied with Cleveland, 61-61 with 10:13 left in the third. The swing in momentum forced Tyronn Lue to try to break things up with a timeout. The offensive explosion for the Warriors was certainly helpful, but it was also announced that Andre Iguodala had injured his right leg in the half and was not certain to return. Iguodala had been out with a left leg injury, so this something new for him to work through.

Halftime: Kevin Durant Keeps Warriors in the Game

In the final minute of the half, Cleveland got a dunk from Larry Nance but couldn’t capitalize on LeBron James having the ball under a basket thanks to some terrific team defense from Golden State. Then, with 0.8 seconds left in the half, Kevin Durant knocked down a long 3-pointer to make it 58-52 at the half.

Durant had been attacked some in recent weeks for forcing isolation plays when the team has typically relied more on passing the ball to set up open looks. He played their way in Game 2, but seems to see the writing on the wall in Game 3. His personal aggressiveness is one of the few things preventing this from being a blowout. He had 24 points and eight rebounds in the half, absolutely propping up his struggling teammates. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have combined to shoot 3 of 15 from the field for 7 points.

The Cavaliers, thanks to a much more balanced approach, have three players scoring in double-figures, with Kevin Love’s 15 points leading LeBron James’s 14 and J.R. Smith’s 10.

The question now is if Golden State has one of its big third quarters in store for the Cavaliers, or if Cleveland can continue to thwart those adjustments with adjustments of their own as they did in the first two games of the series.

Marc Stein: When the Cavaliers turned their Eastern Conference finals series with Boston around after falling into a 2-0 hole, it started in Game 3 with Cleveland’s 17 3-pointers at home in that must-win game. In tonight’s Game 3 of the N.B.A. finals, Cleveland rung up six first-half 3s, but the hosts will have to get hotter to counter the ridiculous Kevin Durant show we’re getting. Kevin Love’s 15 points and 10 rebounds have been huge for the Cavaliers after Love was just 1-for-9 on 3-point attempts in the first two games off a direct LeBron James pass.

Two massive disparities jump off the halftime stat sheet. The visiting Warriors have attempted 13 free throws to Cleveland’s … zero? The Cavaliers, meanwhile, hold a 28-16 advantage on the boards. Can’t wait to see where Durant (24 points already) and LeBron (14 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds) end up.

2nd Quarter: Cavs Closing Out the First Half

A charging call on LeBron James ended up being turned into a blocking foul on the defense, but unlike in Game 1, when it benefited the Warriors, this time it was changed in favor of the Cavs. Just as important, the Cavaliers took advantage of the extended possession by getting a layup from the rejuvenated Rodney Hood.

Golden State has not been able to get into its ball-movement offense at all, settling for a series of bad jumpers and dunk attempts, and even with Kevin Durant getting a difficult jumper, and turning it into a 3-point play with the ensuing free-throw, they trail by 7 points with less than a minute left in the half.

2nd Quarter: Draymond Green Out With Foul Trouble

Kevin Love extended Cleveland’s lead to 13 points with a 3-pointer in the last four minutes of the first half, and while the Warriors quickly cut it back to 8, the Cavs kept pushing. After they got it back to 10, they managed to induce Draymond Green’s third foul of the game, sending the key cog in the Golden State attack to the bench for what will almost certainly be the rest of the half.

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Kevin Love shooting a layup in the first quarter.

Credit
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

2nd Quarter: Kevin Love Keeps Cavs Ahead

Kevin Love stretched Cleveland’s lead to 10 points with a 3-pointer that barely beat the shot clock, and then he outfought the Warriors for a rebound on the defensive end. He then took advantage of a loose ball on offense, picking it up and laying it in to extend the lead to 12. It was a sequence where Love looked like the superstar that he has often been in his career, even if it has become a somewhat rare sight this season as he worked his way through some injuries. The power forward had a double-double with 20 or more points in each of the first two games of the series, and he’s already up to 12 and 9 in this game.

2nd Quarter: LeBron James Shakes Off Injury

LeBron James turned his right ankle slightly on an offensive play and was unable to head back on defense, but he did not come out of the game. A few moments later he was backing toward the basket with the ball and helped set up J.R. Smith for a huge 3-pointer. It was the type of sequence you wouldn’t expect to see from any player other than James, who seems almost impervious to the effects of injury. On Cleveland’s next possession, James threaded his way to the hoop right past the rookie Jordan Bell, scoring easily, and forcing Steve Kerr to burn another timeout.

James is now up to a game-high 14 points, clearly having taken the reins back from an offense that was doing well, but not well enough to create much separation from the Warriors.

Marc Stein: Shaun Livingston made his first 11 shots in these N.B.A. finals. Even more surprising: It was a blocked shot from the scarcely-used Rodney Hood that ended Livingston’s unblemished run.

2nd Quarter: LeBron James Starts to Assert Himself

LeBron James deferred to his teammates in the first quarter, but early in the second, with the lead slipping away, he showed some aggressiveness in getting to the basket, and even when he missed the shot, he got his own offensive rebound and put the ball in for 2 points. Cleveland got a long 2-pointer from Rodney Hood, and a layup by James to put the lead back up to seven points when Steve Kerr had seen enough and took another timeout. The roles thus far are essentially reversed of where they had been in the two games in Oakland, with the Warriors constantly playing catchup. And Stephen Curry isn’t helping so far, with as many fouls (2) as he has points.

End of 1st Quarter: Warriors Battle Back

We knew the rest of the Cavaliers’ roster would contribute more with the game in Cleveland, but the fact that the team got off to such a strong start while LeBron James had just 6 points in the first quarter was somewhat stunning.

Cleveland looked like they might run up a huge lead, especially with the Warriors not getting their first 3-pointer until there were less than two minutes left in the period, but consecutive 3-pointers by Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant got Golden State back into it. The game was actually tied with 10 seconds left in the quarter when Jeff Green connected from 3-point range to give his team a brief 29-26 lead, which was brought back to 29-28 after a pair of free-throws from Durant with 1 second left.

The Cavaliers are undoubtedly happy to be ahead, but it still seems like a wasted opportunity that they were not able to capitalize more on Golden State’s slow start.

Marc Stein: The Warriors missed their first six 3-pointers, Draymond Green teetered on the edge of an early ejection … and Golden State trails by a whopping one point. After a quarter. Nerves are suddenly tangible along with the noise at The Q.

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Draymond Green (23) and Tristan Thompson both received technical fouls in the first quarter.

Credit
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

1st Quarter: Draymond Green, Tristan Thompson Get Early Technicals

Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson each received technical fouls after an argument, which will leave them little room for error as the game progresses, as another technical would result in their ejection. For Green, who is known to argue with referees all game, the decision could certainly alter his approach. Coach Tyronn Lue called a timeout with 3:38 remaining in the quarter, and despite Golden State having somewhat recovered from an atrocious start on offense, they still are trailing the red-hot Cavaliers by 8 points.

Marc Stein: Green racked up only three technical fouls in the first three rounds of the playoffs. But with two in this series already, he’s suddenly just two more technicals away from a one-game suspension.

1st Quarter: Stephen Curry Has Two Fouls

Kevin Durant sank a mid-range jumper to end Golden State’s cold streak on offense and after a turnover, Draymond Green finished a fastbreak all by himself with a dunk. They seemed to be righting the ship a bit when Stephen Curry was whistled for his second foul of the game. He is staying in the game so far. Even Andre Iguodala checking into the game midway through the quarter didn’t seem to yield immediate results as the wing was immediately hit with a foul call.

Marc Stein: Maybe we have to stop saying that LeBron James has no help. The crowd here at The Q is clearly sick of all the sweep talk and making some quality noise. The Warriors have won four finals games here over the years — but they never enjoy visits to this building. Draymond Green in particular is already on the edge.

1st Quarter: A Near-Perfect Start for Cavs

Cleveland is showing far more effort in the early minutes of the game, with Steve Kerr calling a timeout with 7:57 remaining in the first quarter to try to settle his team down. The Cavs are fighting for offensive rebounds, playing aggressive defense, making the shots the Warriors give them and benefiting from Golden State’s shots not falling yet. Beyond JaVale McGee having a terrific dunk and a solid block attempt of a shot attempt by Tristan Thompson, there is little good on the Warriors’s side to cite so far.

1st Quarter: LeBron Alley-Oops Himself

With early 3-pointers by both Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, the Cavaliers seemed to be showing early that they were planning on getting more of LeBron James’s teammates involved. In all, the first 10 Cleveland points came from players other than James, with the streak finally broken when James threw an alley-oop to himself off the backboard to give the Cavaliers an early 12-4 lead. It is hard to imagine a better start for the Cleveland offense.

Marc Stein: In the second half of Cleveland’s Game 4 rout in the 2017 N.B.A. finals, LeBron James flung the ball off the backboard underhanded from behind the free-throw line and dunked home the ball off the glass. In Wednesday night’s must-win Game 3 of the 2018 N.B.A. finals, attacking the other basket, LeBron did it again. Ridiculous.

Lebron James Passes To Himself For Dunk Off Board – NBA Finals 2017 Video by TheHoopDoctors

1st Quarter: Kevin Love Starts With a 3-Pointer

Tristan Thompson won the tip for Cleveland and Kevin Love immediately hit an open 3-pointer, and Game 3 of the finals is underway.

Game 3 Starting Lineups

The starting lineups for Game 3 are the same as they were for Game 2, with Andre Iguodala coming off the bench for Golden State.

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, JaVale McGee

Cavaliers: George Hill, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson

Top Story Lines for Game 3

• LeBron James’s 80 combined points in the first two games of the series have made him an incredible one-man show for the Cavaliers. Kobe Bryant isn’t so convinced that James does not have enough to work with. In a Q. and A. with The Times, Bryant said “I don’t understand how, in order to talk about how great LeBron is we need to [expletive] on everybody else. That’s not OK. Those guys have talent. I don’t buy this whole thing that he’s playing with a bunch of garbage.”

While Coach Steve Kerr of the Warriors is known for the occasional one-liner, Coach Tyronn Lue delivered a great one in his pregame news conference. When asked who would be a key player for the Cavaliers tonight, Lue responded “LeBron James, I guess.”

• James and Curry may be huge rivals on the court, but off it they seem to have formed an alliance in terms of how they will deal with President Trump. On Tuesday they both talked about how there will be no need for the president to invite either team to the White House after the finals are over.

N.B.A Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about the players’ stance during the ABC broadcast of the game and he supported the players even if he lamented them being forced into such a situation.“My reaction is sadness, frankly,” Silver said. “A bit of resignation. But I don’t think it should take away from the fact that these players in our league and our coaches are speaking out on issues that are important to them and important to society.”

• There are reports that the Warriors will be bolstered tonight by the return of Andre Iguodala. The versatile bench player who had moved to the starting lineup earlier in the playoffs, is a vital cog for the team’s offensive rhythm and for its defensive strategy. The question now is if the bone bruise in his left knee is sufficiently healed for him to be effective in a defensive assignment against James.

• Golden State’s Stephen Curry has not quite kept pace with James in terms of overall production, but with averages of 31 points, 8.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds a game so far in the finals, momentum is building for him to potentially win his first Finals M.V.P. award should the Warriors capture their second consecutive title. Curry has downplayed his interest in the award, but his fourth quarter explosion in Game 2 following an altercation with Cleveland’s Kendrick Perkins showed a competitive fire that is rarely on public display from Curry. With the series moving to Cleveland, the question now is if he can continue to succeed without the benefit of his home court.

• The game officials have been the subject of some intense debates during the playoffs, and they will be engaging directly with fans during the game via the National Basketball Referees Association’s official Twitter account. A team of referees will be answering questions and weighing in on calls during the game.

• The Warriors are hoping to get the injured Andre Iguodala back either for tonight or for Friday’s Game 4. The versatile bench player — who had moved to the starting lineup earlier in the playoffs — is a vital cog for the team’s offensive rhythm and for its defensive strategy. If the bone bruise in his knee is sufficiently healed, it could allow Golden State to put him on James in hopes that he can slow the superstar down just enough to lessen Cleveland’s chances of an upset. For now, Kerr is describing Iguodala as “likely” to play.

• Things have yet to quiet down for J.R. Smith following his enormous gaffe at the end of regulation of Game 1, with the moment still being picked apart. Smith did not exactly atone for the poor decision with stellar play in Game 2, but the streaky shooter is always a threat to go off at home, and spacing the court some for James with a big night from 3-point range by Smith would go a long way to evening the odds.

• If things weren’t awkward enough between the Cavaliers and Isaiah Thomas, their former guard went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday to participate in a parody of a game show called “Generation Gap: NBA Edition” against the Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. As part of the skit, he announced “I’m like the Cavs, I’m going to get swept.”

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