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2015 NBA Finals Game 3 -- Cavs avert disaster, hold off Warriors for 2-1 series lead


PhilBoxing.com




CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers watched their 20-point lead dwindle down to a single point before holding on to a 96-91 Game 3 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night at a jampacked Quicken Loans Arena.

After center Timofey Mozgov's alley-oop dunk gave Cleveland a 68-48 bubble with 2:51 left in the third quarter, the Warriors came charging back with a 32-13 run that brought them to within 81-80 with still 2:45 to go in the final period.

Just as the momentum appeared to have shifted, Matthew Dellavedova converted a 3-point play while LeBron James buried a deep 3 to put the Cavs back up 87-80. It was just enough cushion for Cleveland to protect its homecourt and seize a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 NBA Finals.

Playing in front of a capacity crowd of 20,562, James flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. The four-time league MVP made 14 of 34 field goals and 10 of 12 free throws.

Unlike Games 1 and 2 at the Oracle Arena in Cleveland where help was scant, LeBron found plenty of support at home.

Matthew Dellavedova, starting at point guard in place of the injured Kyrie Irving (broken kneecap), fueled the Cavs with 20 points and several hustle plays. Jr. Smith and Tristan Thompson (13 rebounds) contributed 10 apiece as the Cavs shot 46.1 percent from the field (35 of 76) and 42.9 percent from long distance (9 of 21).

"It's just a group that is willing to play as hard as they can to win. and when you do that, you can live with any consequence. We may bend sometimes, but we haven't broken. We don't break. Lot of character in that room, and they're bringing it on the floor," Cavs head coach David Blatt said after Game 3.

It was an especially tough loss for the Warriors, who dominated the rebounds, 46-43, and dished more assists, 21-16.

Steph Curry led the Warriors with 27 points. Andre Iguodala had 15 while Klay Thompson accounted for only 14. Golden State shot just 40 percent from the field (36 of 90) and 35.3 percent from 3-point land (12 of 34).


Photos: LeBron James (top photo) and Matthew Dellavedova (above) combined for 60 points to power the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 96-91 Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors. With a 2-1 series lead, the Cavs are two games away from the NBA title.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Anthony Rozic.


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