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Full Highlights: Cavs put up valiant effort, but fall to Warriors and trail 0-3; 118-113

Kevin Love Draymond

Tonight, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers served as hosts to the Golden State Warriors for Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

As most basketball fans know, the Cavs were facing an 0-2 deficit coming into tonight’s matchup. Needless to say, they were in need of a bounce-back performance.

Golden State won the opening tip of tonight’s game, but they failed to capitalize. Kyrie Irving brought the ball right down the floor and laid in a crafty layup. Just moments later, J.R. Smith knocked down a three to give the Cavs a quick 5-0 advantage.

The Warriors weren’t going to just lie down, however. Kevin Durant gave his team their first lead, 6-5, with an open three-pointer.

Smith, who seemed to have a determined look on his face, answered Durant with a three of his own. All of a sudden, this one was looking like a slug-fest.

LeBron James was playing with a distinct drive in the first quarter. In fact, the King was 4-of-5 from the field in his first five minutes of action. However, when Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue called him to the bench for a break, the Warriors answered with 10 quick points.

A pair of three’s from Stephen Curry and an open dunk from Draymond Green had Golden State leading by eight at the close of the first quarter, 39-32.

The Cavs stormed back in the early phases of the second frame, tying the game at 40 points apiece just a few minutes in.

The battle raged on, with neither side gaining much of an advantage. Curry managed to push Golden State’s lead to four, but Irving quickly answered with a driving layup.

Despite having 12 turnovers, another pair of three-pointers had Golden State leading by six at the halftime horn, 67-61

Coming out of the locker room, the crowd inside Quicken Loans roared to life when Smith cut the Warriors’ lead with a step-back three — his third three-pointer of the night. Irving followed Smith’s act with a transition layup over Zaza Pachulia. All of sudden, it was back to a one point game.

Green picked up his fourth foul near the nine minute mark of the third quarter. Surprisingly, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr elected to keep the former Michigan State Spartan in the game.

Kevin Love stepped up and buried a three to give the Cavs their first lead of the second half. From there, a back-and-forth battle ensued.

Irving, known as one of the more clutch players in the NBA, knew the moment, and decided to take the closing minutes of the third quarter into his own hands. The former Duke Blue Devil scored 16 points in the third frame, leading the Cavs to a five point advantage heading into the final period, 94-89.

The final quarter of tonight’s game started with James extending Cleveland’s lead to seven by way of an open three. The crowd inside The Q roared to life.

The Warriors found themselves in a bit of foul trouble in the second half. In fact, Green picked up his fifth just moments into the fourth. This time, coach Kerr was forced to call him to the bench.

Durant buried a three to bring the Warriors within two points of Cleveland’s lead near the midway point of the quarter. This one seemed to be going down to wire.

With just under a minute remaining in the game, Durant buried another three to push the Warriors ahead by one. The crowd, once lively, seemed stunned.

Golden State went on to end the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run. When the smoke cleared inside The Q, the Warriors had taken a commanding 3-0 series lead by way of a 118-113 victory.

https://youtu.be/y_RcpM77Lx0

As most basketball fans know, no team in NBA history has recovered from a three-game deficit in the Finals. The only thing the Cavs can do now is fight. Game 4 is scheduled to tip at 9:00 p.m. on Friday, with ABC having live broadcast coverage.

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