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James, Cavs drub Dubs in Game 3, avoid brink of going 0-3 in NBA Finals

David Richard/USA Today
By Julian Reyes

CLEVELAND--The Cleveland Cavaliers knew how perilous it is if they go down 0-3 against the tough defending champions Golden State Warriors.

So in the must-win Game 3 of the best-of-seven NBA finals, LeBron James and the entire Cavaliers just rediscovered their nerves on time. James scored 32 points, Kyrie Irving bounced back from a poor performance in the previous game as he added 30 and the Cleveland bucked the absence of one of the 'big three' Kevin Love to clobber the Warriors, 120-90, at Quicken Loans Arena, Thursday morning (PH time).

Going back home seeking to avoid a third straight loss against the Warriors in this year's finals, the Cavaliers got going early, regained their sweet touch from the 3-point line and withstood Golden State's second quarter surge to pull within 2-1 in the series.

The Cleveland, who is so dominant at home in this year's post-season, remained undefeated when playing on their court and had the chance to tie the series on Saturday's (PH Time) Game 4 at the same venue.

Despite the absence of Love, who was not cleared by the league's official to play after a concussion in the Game 2, the Cavaliers drew enough support from the rest of the starters and little from the bench

JR Smith, who struggled in the past two games, drilled five trifectas this time to finish with 20 points while Tristan Thompson outhustled the Warriors' bigs to go with 16 points and 13 rebounds, seven coming off on offensive end.

Richard Jefferson also imposed his veteran savvy, leading the Cleveland's defense and registering nine points, all of which came every time the Warriors attempted a rally.

Cavaliers bench players failed to score a basket until the final 10 minutes of the game, after Iman Shumpert hit a triple, but did a great job keeping the margin out of reach in the game's dying minutes.

Aside from clicking on the offensive end of the court, the Cavaliers also pulled off a great defensive gem, limiting the Golden State's duo of league-MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to a combined 29 points, far from the usual numbers they are scoring a game.

Curry finished with 19 points--two in the first half--on 6-of-13 shooting while Thompson had 10, all in the second quarter. Both of them failed to convert a single basket in the opening quarter.

Harrison Barnes added 18 for the Golden State which saw its seven-game winning streak against the Cleveland, dating back to the last year's finals, coming to an end.

Desperate to save their season from a brink of a disaster, the Cavaliers did not let the Golden State repeat their usual doings in the series' first two games.

Cleveland did not allow the Warriors to taste even a slim lead, despite a series of comeback attempts in the second quarter, to go coast-to-coast in the win.

The Warriors pulled to within seven at the latter part of second quarter, 48-41, before the Cavaliers regrouped in the third and fourth frame.

A quick 19-4 blast to open the scoring party allowed the Cavaliers to dictate the tempo of the game which they preserved until the game's final buzzer to score a convincing 30-point win against the Warriors.

Box Scores:

Cleveland 120-James 32, Irving 30, Smith 20, Thompson 16, Jefferson 9, McRay 4, Shumpert 3, Williams 3, Dellavedova 2, Mozgov 2, J. Jones 1, D. Jones 0

Golden State 90-Curry 19, Barnes 18, Iguodala 11, Thompson 10, Barbosa 8, Green 6, Livingston 5, Speights 5, Bogut 4, Clark 3, Varejao 0, Ezeli 0

Quarterscores: 33-16, 51-43, 89-69, 120-90

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