CLEVELAND — After LeBron James and Kyrie Irving saw a combined 77-point night wasted in a 118-113 loss to the Golden State Warriors to fall down 3-0 in the NBA Finals, James called the Warriors “probably the most firepower I’ve played in my career.”
Durant hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left to punctuate his 31-point night. He now has scored 30-plus in all three games of the Finals. Curry contributed 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Klay Thompson, after starting the series going 3-for-16 in Game 1, shot 11-for-18 on Wednesday en route to 30 points.
“I said it after we won the Eastern Conference finals that we’re getting ready for a juggernaut,” James said. “It’s probably the most, most firepower I’ve played in my career. I played against some great teams, but I don’t think no team has had this type of firepower.”
Cavs go 0-8 during Warriors 11-0 closing run
The Cavaliers had a six-point lead with 3:08 left to play. But the Warriors ended the game on an 11-0 run to put the Cavs in a 3-0 hole.
JR Smith denies tweeting ‘Cavs in 7’ after loss
JR Smith says he did not send a tweet that said “Cavs in 7” before being deleting a few minutes later after Wednesday’s Game 3 loss. “I’m smarter than that,” he said.
Overcoming toughest challenge, Warriors one win from perfection
Kevin Durant and Golden State kept their unbeaten playoff run roaring to 15 in a row, moving one win away from a historic Finals finish.
James lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 Finals, his last with the Miami Heat, before coming back to Cleveland for a second stint. Many basketball pundits at the time said the Spurs played nearly perfect basketball.
The Warriors are doing it differently than San Antonio, but with no less effectiveness.
“Even when you’re playing well, you got to play A-plus-plus, because they’re going to make runs and they’re going to make shots and they got guys that’s going to make plays,” James said. “So, we made enough plays tonight to still win the ball game, but they made a couple more.”
James finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Irving had 38 points, six rebounds and three assists. It broke Cleveland’s perfect 4-0 all-time record in the postseason when both James and Irving score 30-plus points.
Despite their output, both had plays in the final minute that will be remembered for not going their way.
James passed to Kyle Korver for a open 3-point attempt with 52.5 seconds left and the Cavs up by two. Korver missed.
Irving took a step-back jumper with 26.5 seconds left from the right wing — the same spot he hit his notorious game winner in Game 7 last year — and he missed.
“We had some really good looks,” James said. “It’s a miss-or-make league. We make a couple, they miss a couple, and it’s the other way around. But it didn’t happen that way.”
Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org