Cavs' best effort not good enough to dismantle Warriors

Cavs' best effort not good enough to dismantle Warriors

LeBron James recorded a triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 40 points and Cleveland outperformed the NBA's most electrifying offence in a testy Game 4 filled with technical fouls on Friday night, beating the Warriors 137-116 and ending their flawless post-season.

The obvious reaction three games into an National Basketball Association finals the Golden State Warriors are nearly certain to win is that Kevin Durant is the series MVP.

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with teammates after the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113 in Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

Durant scored seven of his 31 points in the Warriors' game-ending 11-0 run, the biggest of them a 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining that put Golden State ahead to stay at 114-113.

The Cleveland Cavaliers staved off NBA Finals elimination and ended Golden State's shot at an unprecedented flawless run through the playoffs with a gritty 137-116 win over the Warriors on Friday. "We're not guaranteeing 4 victories in a row but we are saying we're going to come out as a confident group, play hard and give ourselves a chance tonight".

The game was the most physical yet of the Finals and saw James and Durant come face-to-face at midcourt for a heated argument while a play was being reviewed.

Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who has had an underwhelming Finals so far, then took over in the third quarter.

"Is it fair? I don't care", the 32-year-old said.

The Warriors were still up three points in Game 3.

"They're a juggernaut of a team".

Cavs' best effort not good enough to dismantle Warriors
Cavs' best effort not good enough to dismantle Warriors

"I think that he has grown in terms of his ability to play with the other four guys, with our movement and our spacing and our flow", Kerr said. But they need Game 4 of the Finals on Friday for their fourth straight series sweep.

"We all had plays that we want back", said Korver of the attempt.

Cavaliers: James (1,175) passed Sam Jones (1,143), Bill Russell (1,151) and Elgin Baylor (1,161) to move into fourth place on the NBA Finals scoring list.

They went on to win their first championship in seven games. He had 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists.

But the heavy minutes Cleveland's superstars were forced to play may have taken their toll down the stretch.

"I mean, it was just let's just have some fun playing ball, let's just all get better and let's see what happens".

But coming back from 3-0 deficit against an even more talented Warriors team than the one they needed seven games to beat previous year is a different story.

But the circumstances that allowed James to sign with Miami were different than what paved Durant's way to Golden State.

Perhaps most frustrating for the Cavaliers, who host Game Four on Friday, is that after two lopsided losses to open the series they returned home and played their most complete game of the Finals only to blow six-point lead in the closing minutes.

But Golden State with Durant is on another level than the teams Cleveland roughed up in the Eastern Conference, and the Cavs just couldn't hold them down long enough. Coach Steve Kerr later explained that he told his players that Irving and James were playing too many minutes and that "fatigue will play a role".