Kevin Durant’s late flurry of points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with 45 seconds left lifted Golden State past Cleveland 118-113 as the Warriors moved to within one win from reclaiming the NBA Finals throne.
The Dubs were down seven with less than five minutes left when Durant sparked a telling 21-11 run, capped with a 28-foot, transition, go-ahead three-pointer that gave Golden State a 114-113 lead with 45 ticks remaining on the clock.
Durant coolly sank two free throws after Kyrie Irving’s short three-point attempt, then Steph Curry sealed the win from the stripe with the last two points of the match.
Golden State can win their second NBA title in three years and move 2-1 in their Finals matchup against the Cavaliers if they sweep Cleveland at the Q on Saturday. The teams split the last two Finals, with the Warriors winning in 2015, and the Cavs in 2016.
Durant finished with 31 points on another efficient outing, making 10 of his 18 attempts including four of his seven three-pointers. He also had eight rebounds and four assists.
Curry ended up with 26 points with 13 rebounds and six assists and shot 5-of-9 from deep for the Warriors, who got 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from Klay Thompson, who was again lights-out from the arc and made six of his 11 attempts from that region.
LeBron James did everything he could for the Cavs but his team missed the mark again. The 32-year-old, who has not missed one of his possible 215 career playoff games, paced the Cavs with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Irving, who spurred Cleveland’s third-quarter run by pouring 16 points in that frame, added 38 points for the Cavs on 16-of-29 shooting, though he was 0-7 from deep. The third of the team’s Big 3, Kevin Love, made only one of nine attempts, and finished with nine points.
J.R. Smith, who had more fouls (5) than points (3) in the Game 2 loss, played his best game of the series after sinking 5-of-10 treys for 16 points.
Except for some moments bridging the third and the fourth frame, the Warriors torched the hosts from the outside.
The Dubs made 40 of their 83 shots, including 16 of their 33 field goals from deep for an outstanding 48.5% conversion rate.
Cleveland, on the other hand, made only 12 of their 44 attempts from the outside (27.3%). Four of the five players fielded by the Cavs failed to register a single make.