LeBron and Co. pounced early and often on a tentative looking Golden State Warriors team, scoring the game’s first nine points. The lead ballooned up to 20 in the first quarter, as the Cavs coasted to a 30 point blowout victory at home, 120-90 Wednesday night (June 8).
Kyrie Irving set the tone early, scoring 16 of his 30 in the first quarter after getting hot from downtown. He played like a man possessed, and his teammates fed off of his energy. LeBron James called this game “do or die” for Cleveland. Before the game, Bron’ fired up his teammates with a clear message: “Look the man in front of you and do your f–king job, and follow my lead.” His lead was a cool 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, including an electrifying tomahawk alley-oop dunk in the third quarter. Check it out below.
For the first time in the finals, his teammates responded. Tristan Thompson (14 points, 13 rebounds) finished around the rim as well as I’ve ever seen him in his career. J.R. Smith came to play, after only eight combined points in the first two games, the flamethrower exploded for 20 points, including five three-pointers. Richard Jefferson, who started an NBA finals game for the first time in 13 years, filled in nicely for the concussed Kevin Love, adding nine points and playing solid defense. The Cavs’ starters combined for 105 of the 120 points on the night.
The Splash Bros continue to struggle here in the Finals, combining for only 29 points, eight turnovers, and shooting 4-16 from downtown. Unanimous MVP, Steph Curry, was much worse than the stats indicated. He picked up careless fouls, lacked intensity on the defensive end and turned the ball over consistently. Something does not look right with the back-to-back MVP. Klay Thompson finished with 10 points, but left the game briefly and returned after a reported thigh contusion from an illegal screen collision with Timofey Mozgov. Draymond Green was as quiet as we’ve seen this year, as he was held to six points on 2-8 from the field.
Cleveland responded by taking care of business at home where they are undefeated this post-season, but can they sustain the intensity and shooting from Wednesday night? Golden State is sure to play better, and Kevin Love should be able to return from his concussion, assuming he passes protocol today. The stage is set for an electric environment for game 4 from “The Q” at 9 p.m. Friday night (June 10).
Will the Cavaliers even things up, or do the Warriors take a commanding 3-1 series lead?