The Cavaliers returned home, put on their big boy hats, and decided to do some ass-kicking of their own. After getting blown off the court in Game 2, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and co (minus Kevin Love - more on that later) came out with a fire in their bellies and a hunger in their souls.
LeBron finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists with a plus/minus of +24 in 40 minutes of inspired play. Kyrie Irving, finallly joining the fray, finished with 30 points, eight assists, and was also +24 in almost 37 minutes of play. The Cavs' dynamic duo out-hustled the Warriors as LeBron reclaimed his broken jumper. Tristan Thompson had an impact on both sides of the floor as well, finishing +21 with 14 points and 13 rebounds (including seven offensive boards). Somehow, inexplicably, JR Smith was +33 for the game.
It was just that kind of night.
For the Warriors, Stephen Curry was the team's leading scorer with 19 points, but shot 6-13 from the field and just looked....off all night.He only managed two total points in the first half. Klay Thompson suffered an early thigh contusion, and finished with 10 points on 4-13 shooting, including 1-7 from behind the arc.
The Warriors came out flat, played uninspired basketball, and paid the price. It was all summed up by this one play, which occurred after a dead ball whistle.
You see Curry trying anything -- something -- to get himself going. He grabs the ball, scoots in for the quick, meaningless layup, and--SMACK. NOT IN MY HOUSE. LeBron pulls the Kevin Garnett move, except in a much more intimate setting, and denies Curry the luxury of seeing the ball go through the hoop.
Anyways, tonight's game was rough. Here are some (very abbreviated) notes:
The Warriors came out sluggish, at one point trailing 21-8 with 4:05 left in the first quarter. The Cavaliers, riding a high from returning to their home court and playing in front of a compassionate crowd, came out of the gates blazing. Right before the end of the quarter, Klay Thompson banged knees with Timofey Mozgov and limped off the court. Luckily, he was able to return in the subsequent quarter, but at the time the injury looked scary and painful.
Klay Thompson takes a hard knock to his left thigh or hip. https://t.co/XY3fZeQq0r— RealGM (@RealGM) June 9, 2016
Also, Kyrie was on fire, as he torched Stephen Curry early.
First quarter stats...— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 9, 2016
Kyrie Irving: 16 points on 9 shots
Warriors: 16 points on 20 shots
The Warriors did fight back, cutting a once 20 point lead to single digits. Klay Thompson also returned, though he was limping slightly as he ran through screens. Steph continued to suck.
Halftime score: 51-43
JR Smith pipe laying game? Cavs lead 67-48 w/ 6:12 left
Curry still has 2 points. 1-6 shooing. 0-4 from 3pt.
Who am I kidding I stopped taking notes about halfway through the third quarter.
--- = ---
The Warriors, looking for that death blow of 3-0, played a lazy game of basketball tonight. Curry was off, the team couldnt find any movement. They couldn't tap into the magic they'd brewed in Oakland the past few games. Steve Kerr repeatedly sat Curry, at one point asking (yelling at) him, "ARE YOU OKAY?"
Curry, in response, nodded sagely while hate-staring into a far off distant universe. But, he was not okay. Nothing was okay. The Warriors went down big at the very outset of the game, fought back, but then took another fatal blow in the third quarter and never recovered.
Will we see the Dubs regain their dominance in Game 4? Or have the Cavaliers turned the tide in this series and it's destined to go back to California tied 2-2?