CLEVELAND — Kevin Durant pushed the Golden State Warriors into dynasty’s doorstep.
LeBron James could be in the exit door.
Durant scored 43 points, draining a lengthy 3-pointer in the last minute to cap his glorious performance, along with the Warriors beat James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-102, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night to move within a victory of a sweep, their second straight title and third tournament in four years.
And Cleveland may be down to one last game with James, who listed his 10th triple-double in the finals. The three-time winner can opt out of the $35.6 million deal and also examine free agency this summer, and it can be time for your 33-year-old to find a team capable of beating the Warriors.
These Cavs can’t figure it out.
CBSSports.com’s Kyle Boone writes,”There’ll be endless banter about where free-agent-to-be LeBron James decides to sign if he chooses to leave Cleveland. But one destination, the Los Angeles Lakers, has been the most talked landing place for the celebrity for quite a while now.”
With the Cavs down 103-100, Durant stood and almost motionless after dropping his 33-footer – almost from precisely the exact same area from where he hit one in Game 3 last year – and effectively finished the fourth consecutive finals matchup between two teams who have gotten to know each other well since 2015.
After Durant scored, Stephen Curry and Draymond surrounded Durant and screamed in their teammate, who calmly walked toward the seat.
“I attempted to only stay in the zone,” Durant said, acknowledging that he was nervous the Cavs could still come back.
Durant reported the similarity with last year’s shot a second that helped define his first championship – didn’t occur to him.
“No, not at all,” he said of this comparison. “I just took the shot.”
There was nothing the Cavs could do.
“It was like deja vu seeing him hit that shot ,” Cavs ahead Kevin Love stated.
Golden State will have four chances to wrap up its name beginning with Game 4 to Friday night. The Warriors are trying to combine a select list of groups to win three championships in four decades.
James scored 33 points and Kevin Love added 20 for the Cavs, who have fallen into the hole where 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 needed another supporting cast.
“We had our opportunities,” James said. “You can not make errors. They are not going to beat themselves.”
The Warriors won despite a 3-of-16 shooting operation from Curry, who did come up big down the stretch as the Cavs were hoping to salvage their time.
Durant, who tilted this competition toward the West Coast when he signed up with the Warriors as a free agent before last season, was brilliant from the beginning. He helped cancel a rough night for Curry, who left a finals-record nine 3-pointers in Game 2, but was just 1 of 10 from behind the arc and didn’t score his second field goal until there were under three minutes left.
Curry’s scoop shot put up the Warriors 98-97 and defensive pro Andre Iguodala, who didn’t play in Games 1 or 2 because of a knee injury, came up with a sneak under the basket. Curry eventually murdered a 3 and after James matched him with a long shot, Iguodala drove the lane for a dip dip.
Seconds later, Durant delivered his dagger to silence Cleveland’s audience.
“The shot clock was running down, I was pretty far out, I only wanted to have a look,” Durant said. “I didn’t want to run and take a terrible shot, fall on the floor and they got numbers going the other way so I opted to pull up.”
James made a layup to pull on the Cavs within four, it had been too little too late since the Warriors shut it out and beat Cleveland for its fourth straight time in finals games.
With JaVale McGee getting three point-blank shots in the rim, the Warriors opened the third quarter with a 9-3 spurt and it wasn’t long before they took their first lead on Curry’s two free throws.
Read more: worldbaseball2017.com