Even if everyone already knew the Warriors were eventually going to win the NBA Finals regardless of what happened tonight, Game 3 was actually pretty fun. The Cavs gave the Dubs their best shot on the way to a respectable 110-102 defeat. Kevin Love came to play, Rodney Hood reminded us that he was a qualified basketball person who played for Cleveland, and, no shit, LeBron was trying to win the dang thing all by himself.
But while the Cavs recovered nicely from a demoralizing Game 2, it was still pretty tough to believe they would win this one, especially when Kevin Durant cut the Warrior deficit to six with a deep trey at the end of the first half. The Warriors didn’t run away with the game from there, but they did hold a clear psychological advantage throughout the final 24 minutes, emphasized by their almost-sadistic third-quarter tendency to get JaVale McGee, of all people, plenty of touches. (At one point in the third, McGee had more points than Steph and Klay combined.)
But this was Kevin Durant’s game. Even if you kind of hate Slim Reaper for the branding machine that tries to paper over his obvious insecurities, Durant was exhilarating to watch tonight. Scoring a playoff career-high 43 points, Durant made up for the awful shooting of Thompson and Curry by consistently rising up over defenders from the mid-range in the fourth quarter and finding his teammates for easy buckets. It was a superhuman performance, marked by a chilling repeat of his Game 3 dagger three from last year’s Finals, which put the Warriors up six with under a minute to play.
The end result was far from a bad or boring game to watch, but never quite as suspenseful as it should have been. The Warriors’ talent is just too much, even when it’s going up against a LeBron James triple-double. Durant gave Golden State another championship trophy tonight. The only question appears to be whether it’ll take four games or five to finish the job.