James was fantastic, again: 33 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
"It's a big difference", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked to compare the pre- and post-Durant Warriors. "Some of those shots, I don't think anybody in the world but him could have made those shots".
"You know, I just tried to make sure that we came out and didn't foul a three-point shooter or didn't give up a wide-open three or got too excited about that play".
In the last two Games 3s in the Finals, Kyle Korver has missed wide-open 3s, Durant burned them with 3s at critical junctures, and the Cavs suffered lapses (like the third quarter on Wednesday) they couldn't afford. Game 4 is Friday night in Cleveland.
After some contentious calls in the first two games, the official Twitter account of the National Basketball Association referees tweeted during game three to confirm James' pass to himself off the backboard was legal.
Gilbert was likely pleased when, 22 seconds into the third quarter, James drove to the basket, made a bucket and was fouled, promptly giving Cleveland its first free throw of the game.
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Cleveland did what it had been saying it would do for two days - come out better on home court - and the Cavs led for the entire first half, thanks in part to bad shooting from the Warriors.
"Going into this season, I don't think anybody could have guessed or predicted the ups and downs and the roller coaster we've been on", Curry said Thursday as the Warriors prepped for the possible clincher.
The Cavaliers appeared to do everything right in this game. "He's a scorer. You know, he's an assassin, and that was one of those assassin plays right there".
On nights like Wednesday, when Curry was mostly awful, Durant can play the one-on-one style that not long ago had some analysts briefly questioning his future in Golden State.
Despite the Warriors going up 3-0, Curry had a night to forget, scoring just 11 points on a horrid 3-of-16 shooting.
This is the fourth consecutive year (since 2015) that these two teams are playing in the NBA Finals. Just a different vibe around the team, around just - everything's just different. He handles the ball for us a lot on offense.
But of course, Cortes said Cleveland will need to play a near-perfect game if it wants to pull off a miracle.