Cavs Come To Life In Cleveland
Is the home team going to dominate every game of the NBA Finals? It appears so.
After getting whooped in both games at Oracle Arena, the Cavs came back to Cleveland and manhandled the Warriors. The 120-90 thrashing started early, so early that Golden State didn't lead the game for even a second.
Kyrie Irving scored the first two points, then he turned into a human torch and hit seven of his first nine shots in the first quarter. The "kid," as LeBron James referred to him, busted out for 30 points and 8 assists, and Irving earned a little praise from LeBron after the win.
"He's a special kid, and we need him to be special throughout this series," James said. "Kyrie was Kyrie tonight. He kept us afloat, got us the lead and kept it going in the second half."
LeBron played more like LeBron as well (32 pts, 11 rebs, 6 ast), but he was more pleased with the team holding the Warriors to 90 points.
"It started defensively, and it's trickled down to the offensive side. We finally got our pace, we finally started playing our basketball," James said in an almost robotic fashion.
The Cavs held Klay Thompson to 10 points (4-13 FG, 1-7 3-pt), and Steph Curry turned the ball over six times and only scored 19 points in the Game Three beatdown. They effectively took the Splash Brothers out of their element, and Draymond Green was almost nonexistent with only six points.
Golden State Head Coach Steve Kerr has a ton of NBA Championship rings, and a lot of people already started to size him up for another after the first two games of the NBA Finals. There's a reason the teams play seven games. There are wild swings of momentum, especially when you're playing in a year with more 25+ point blowouts in the playoffs (19) than any other year (11 in 2009).
Kerr didn't sound robotic with his response to the loss. He sounded honest.
"It wasn't lineups, it wasn't subsituttion patterns. We just got our tails kicked," Kerr joked with reporters.
It was the kind of night where J.R. Smith, who was nowhere to be found in Golden State, popped off for 20 points (7-13 FG, 5-10 3-point). He was getting buckets back at home, which seems the way things are going this series. The home team shoots the lights out, and the away team builds a house out of bricks.
The biggest difference came on the glass, where the Cavs outrebounded the Warriors, 52-32. Rebounding comes with effort, and Tristan Thompson's 13 rebounds (7 offensive) were only a part of the domination. They tapped into the desperation required to respond to a thumping, and they attacked Golden State the entire game.
One more game like this, and the Cavs can tie the series up. Game Four in Cleveland (Friday, 8:00 pm) will be a massive pivot point for the NBA Finals. Cleveland will try to equalize the series, but they will also be fighting off the prospect of going down 3-1 if Golden State starts raining shots from above.
Also, with the win...do you even worry about bringing Kevin Love back from injury? He's been a defensive liability, and the Cavs won with him out of the lineup. It's not an insane idea to think Cleveland would go Loveless again in Game Four.
Even though the series got closer at 2-1, we're still looking for a single good game in the Finals. Three blowouts so far. Come on Game Four, please be better.
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