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SECOND OVERTIME

By Homer D. Sayson


NBA Finals Diary: Cavs come back to life

PhilBoxing.com
Fri, 10 Jun 2016



CLEVELAND -- When I made the 347-mile drive from Chicago to this beautiful city on the banks of the great Lake Erie, I expected to witness an NBA Finals that was unpleasantly one-sided in favor of the Golden State Warriors, who won Games 1 and 2 by a combined 48 points.

But as an old adage goes, "there's no place like home."

Down 0-2 and needing to win four of the next five games to annex the Larry O'Brien trophy, a wounded Cleveland Cavaliers stormed back to the championship series with a 120-90 drubbing of the defending champions at the Quicken Loans Arena.

With 20,562 fans steadfastly standing behind them, cheering just as wildly as those DubNation loyalists at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, the Cavaliers raced to a 9-0 start and led by as many as 20 points before holding on to a 33-17 advantage after one quarter.

As expected, LeBron James rallied his troops with yet another superb performance --- 32 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Kyrie Irving, who was a non-factor in Games 1 and 2, showed the stuff All-Stars are made of, punishing the defending champs with 30 points and 8 dimes. A concussion hindered Kevin Love from playing but his services were hardly missed in a game where Cleveland made 48 of 91 field goals and 12 of 25 threes.

The Warriors, meanwhile, looked tired and disinterested, playing catch-up all night Wednesday and flashing only spurts of brilliance in a Finals encounter that demanded 48 minutes of passion and intensity.

Steph Curry, the reigning back-to-back MVP, is having a tepid Finals thus far. He finished with 19 points and shot a decent 6-of-13 from the field in Game 3. But the baby-faced marksman wasn't in attack mode and looked lethargic on defense, prompting Warriors head coach Steve Kerr to ask Curry "are you okay?" at the sidelines.

But that was Game 3.

Today is Game 4 and Curry has sworn to play much better, a commitment that sounds like music to the ears of the worried Warriors flock.

Although Cleveland obviously has the momentum heading into Game 4, the facts remain the same --- the Warriors are still in control of this best-of-7 showdown. With a 2-1 lead, all they need is win Games 5 and 7 at home, a relatively easy task given how they went 40-1 at the Oracle Arena during the regular season and 9-1 in these playoffs.

It's hard to pull against LeBron in his lair, but I like the Warriors in Game 4. Hard to imagine that they'll shoot 42.1 percent from the field and 27.3 percent form long distance for two straight contests.


The author (R) prior to the start of Warriors-Cavs game 3 finals game.


FASTBREAK -- Prior to Game 3 a moment of silence was held in honor of Muhammad "The Greatest" Ali, who passed away early this week. Outside the Q Arena, a fanfest was held and fans watched the game with two giant jumbotrons. ​​




Click here for a complete listing of columns by this author.

Click here for a complete listing of this author's articles from different news sources.

 



 
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