Maurice Dixon @WriturRece
Kyrie Irving going 1-on-1 or ISO Irving worked in Game 3.
Irving scored 16 of his 30 points in the first quarter as the Cleveland Cavaliers scored the first nine points of the game and built a 20-point margin in the first quarter of a 120-90 home win, which prevented the Cavs from going down 0-3 in the 2016 NBA Finals.
LeBron James, who got hot from the perimeter, had 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
“Kyrie was Kyrie tonight,” James said. “He kept us afloat.”
The Cavaliers responded to all of the public criticism as expected and proved how this game was a must-win not long after the opening tip.
Irving took many of the same shots as in Game 1 and Game 2. Uncle Drew, who he is also known as, danced with the ball, made Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry look silly on a few plays but his shots just fell this time.
James finding his jumpshot in the third quarter was one of the differences from the previous two contests. The 6-8 facilitator nailed a number of jumpers in the frame to neutralize Curry’s (19 points) hot shooting in the quarter and keep Cleveland comfortably ahead.
After being criticized daily by First Take’s Stephen A. Smith, J.R. Smith found his shooting touch and was clearly more aggressive despite a shaky handle, nailing five 3-pointers on the way to 20 points.
Tristan Thompson dominated the glass with 13 rebounds (seven offensive), which helped lead to 14 points. Inserted into the starting lineup for Kevin Love (concussion), Richard Jefferson had nine points and eight rebounds.
Outside of the second and third quarters, Klay Thompson (10 points) and Curry didn’t have stellar performances, turning the ball over (Curry finished with six) and forcing some shots from deep.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “They just punched us right in the mouth right from the beginning. We were extremely soft to start the game.”
The criticism is coming for the Splash Brothers until tip-off on June 10 back at Quicken Loans Arena. Can they use that as fuel to lead the Warriors to becoming the first road team to win there this postseason?