Andre Iguodala expected to play Game 3 of National Basketball Association finals

Lynette Rowe
June 8, 2018

This was not exactly the same shot from Kevin Durant.

LeBron James said after the game the reason that he wanted to come to Philadelphia was to play with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant celebrates with teammates after Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland.

But this one was deeper than his dagger was a year ago - and it cut deeper as well. Durant also grabbed all of the Warriors' seven rebounds.

Bad news for the Cavaliers: Golden State has all the other points in the third quarter.

That gives Durant another forever-replayed moment - one that measures a little farther than last year's 3-pointer that helped the superstar forward win his first championship ring. Just a different vibe around the team, around just - everything's just different. Soon, maybe Friday, maybe not until Monday, this team will have the same.

Durant, who tilted this rivalry toward the West Coast when he signed with the Warriors as a free agent before last season, was brilliant from the start.

That helped Golden State overcome a combined 2-for-9 start for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He's now about to be a two-time champion because he went to Golden State.

They did not have a super regular season.

In Games 1 and 2, LeBron James put averaged 40 points, 8.5 rebounds, 10.5 assists, and 1.5 steals on 56 percent shooting from the field and 46 percent from beyond the arc. "You can't have mistakes". We found a brazen one in Warriors territory who isn't afraid to fly his Cavs flag in the face of his team's long odds. He's three rebounds shy of averaging one in this series. But he's not going anywhere, even mentally, until this series is over. And he's still down 3-0.

Curry is looking for his third championship in four years - all against Cleveland.

"We've got to take care of home", he said. "That's what championship players do".

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But the biggest shot of the evening came with under a minute left. Durant continuously made timely, momentum-stopping shots.

Philly tried to take advantage of the Warriors smaller lineup by posting Saric and Embiid, which slowed down their offense.

This is just what's next.

"I tried to just stay in the zone", Durant said, acknowledging he was nervous the Cavs could still come back. So, I can't - I don't really know.

It may as well have been.

Moments later, Durant delivered his dagger to silence Cleveland's crowd.

"It was like deja vu seeing that shot again", Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said. "Defenses try to plan for him, but when you're 6-11, 7-feet and you're shooting a lazy pullup on the left wing from 27 feet that's pretty tough to guard". He didn't think his shot was the biggest of the game. Durant scored 24 points in the first half on 7-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

But Durant finished it off.

"It's a different game, different season", Durant said.

"All three games were really, really hard", Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. The Cavaliers just weren't connected defensively and it allowed the Warriors to get going early with McGee in the first quarter, but to their credit, they were able to weather the storm of the third quarter to give themselves half a chance in the fourth. But we should probably go back to Kevin Durant, shouldn't we?

All of these events were downright ideal for the Cleveland Cavaliers: Stephen Curry's shooting game was very bad for most of the night, Klay Thompson's wasn't much better, the Cavs led by as many as 13 in the first half and some non-producers from the first two games of these NBA Finals were starting to finally give LeBron James the contributions he's craved.

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