Game 3 of the NBA Finals helped revive the hopes of many that we could be in for an entertaining series. The first three-quarters of the game were close, but after that, it was blowout basketball. The upside is that the blowouts, for both teams, may now have officially woken up all the players. Game 1 was accompanied by excitement like the first game of the NBA should deliver to a player. Games 2 and 3 had the away teams of each game playing a lazy, sad, horrid match that did somewhat resemble NBA basketball. The Cavs received their wake-up call in Golden State, losing by 33, and needed to respond with urgency as they were down 0-2 in the series.
Not only did the Cavs play their best basketball, returning to their home fans in Cleveland, but the Warriors played in a way that can only be described as awful, and similes alike. The Cavs are not out of the woods just yet. The Warriors often do well after a loss like that, and a loss for Cleveland in Game 4 could ultimately ensure a five-game series. If Cleveland wants to win another on its home court, they are going to need LeBron to have a repeat performance of Game 3.
The absence of Kevin Love, in all honesty, may have aided the Cavs by allowing LeBron to shoulder more of the offensive load instead of feeling obligated to deliver the ball to someone who can’t deliver. In Games 1 and 2, LeBron combined for 40 points, he nearly matched that in Game 3 alone with 32. JR Smith finally decided to show up, presumably fired up by the home crowd and hit five threes along with a couple of sweet finishes to total 20 points. Not only was he hitting, but he was efficient the entire game shooting 7 of 13 total and 5 of 10 from three.
Kyrie Irving also finally showed up and played like a superstar. Irving shot 12 for 25 with 30 points, including three threes, and basically shook anyone who tried to defend him. Both players are going to have to continue playing that level of basketball if they are going to beat this Warriors team again. A bonus was Tristan Thompson who stepped up and had a huge game as he chipped in 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting and 13 rebounds, 7 of them offensive. The only person who showed up for the Warriors was Harrison Barnes. Iguodala also did well, but it’s pretty much a given for him to show up in the finals at this point. Surprisingly, Stephen Curry led the Warriors in points in Game 3 with 19, Barnes had 18. However, Curry played so awful, except for a few minutes during periods late in the match where he accrued 13 of his points, that he is not deserving of any stat that even somewhat resembles a decent game for everyone. He did have the scoring surge late on, but not until he had already spent 20 minutes putting the Warriors in that 20 point hole, then showing up during garbage time. Klay and Bogut were both absolute no shows in their own areas of expected contribution. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Bogut are all going to have to do more. Bogut only had 2 rebounds, which is pathetic for a man that size, and 4 points, which is………whatever.
To be honest, for those who desire a heated battle and exciting matchup, the tables might be set. The Cavs got their wake up call and answered massively. The Warriors received their wake up call, after possibly getting a little smug and overconfident or dismissive which wouldn’t be the first time, and typically come out with some fire after a loss like that. After performances in which both teams sputtered and crashed horribly, both teams may now be simultaneously playing at peak performance. With both teams playing their best basketball we may finally be about to see these teams really square off, for the first time this series. If Cavs lose, it’s all but over, if Cavs win and the series gets thrown back in the air. After the performances we’ve seen so far, this series either starts or ends in Game 4.