2018 NBA Finals: Warriors vs. Cavaliers

Ten lingering thoughts: Game 3 of NBA Finals

Sekou Smith

Sekou Smith

CLEVELAND — A few thoughts from a loud and crazy Quicken Loans Arena at Game 3 of the NBA Finals

10 — While it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, there is something about the alley-oop dunk to yourself still drives a crowd wild. LeBron James did just that with his selfie-oop in Game 3 …

http://www.nba.com/video/2018/06/06/0041700403-lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-golden-state-warriors-dunk-1q

http://www.nba.com/video/2018/06/06/0041700403-lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-golden-state-warriors-dunk-1q

9 — The Cavaliers (and Tristan Thompson, specifically) promised an increased level of physicality for Game 3, which they delivered on and more early tonight. The only way they get the Warriors out of their comfort zone in this series is to make things more physical. Doing so plays to the strengths of some of their role players (and, of course, LeBron himself).

8 — Sure, it’s a somewhat primitive approach in this day and age of analytics and pace-and-space basketball. But what if LeBron decided to go Shaq on the league and attack the rim at all times? Who could stop him? Literally … who in the world could stop him without totally compromising their defensive principles?

7 — Kevin Durant with the cold-blooded step into it 3-pointer in the final seconds of the second quarter kept the Warriors within striking distance, 58-52, heading into the locker room. Durant’s first half was sick (24 points on 7-for-10 shooting, 3-for-4 from distance, eight rebounds and two assists). He outscored the rest of the starting lineup (17 points combined) by himself to keep the Warriors in it. What was that people were saying about him struggling a couple games back?

6 — From the bizarre department: the NBPA announced their fourth annual Players’ Voice Awards at 10:46 p.m. ET. That means it was during the third quarter of Game 3 of The Finals … a fantastic game, by the way. James Harden is their MVP and LeBron is the “People’s Champ.”

Why this couldn’t wait until morning is beyond my comprehension. I’m willing to listen to reasonable explanations.

I do love the premise, by the way. And I wholeheartedly endorse P.J. Tucker as the Sneaker Champ Award (best shoe game).

5 — We see it now, Cavaliers fans. Makes total sense after seeing Rodney Hood on the floor in this series.

4 — Andre Iguodala might be “pain free” but he sure looks like he’s laboring dragging that knee around the court down the stretch. He’s still making plays and the Warriors clearly need him to finish what they’ve started in this series without him.

3 — You know you are caught up in it when you look at the monitor and realize Stephen Curry is 1-for-14 from the floor, 0-for-9 from deep and the Warriors have a lead (96-95) with 3:19 to play.

2 — Kevin Durant = Savage!

Just 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the reigning Finals MVP … and a flashback to his 2016 Finals dagger after he hit one tonight with 49.5 to play.

1 — LeBron had a 33-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double … and he got help from all over the place tonight … and it still wasn’t enough. The Warriors rallied and took Game 3, 110-102.

Not sure what else the man can do other than tip his cap.

That’s 3-0 Warriors.

Get the brooms out for Friday night’s Game 4?

* * *

Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail himhere, findhis archive hereandfollow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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