NBA Finals: Takeaways From Game 3

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2014 NBA Finals logo” by Michael Tipton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

It looked liked the Cavs were going to get back into the series and win at home for much of game 3, but they couldn’t pull it off. The Warriors took the lead right at the end, winning the game 118-113. They’re now up 3-0 in the series, needing just one more win to be the NBA Champions.

After both game 1 and game 2, I broke down my takeaways from each. I’ve done the same here after game 3. I have five main takeaways from game 3, two of which I didn’t see until the final minutes.

Kevin Durant is Clutch

Durant is the reason the Warriors got this victory. After grabbing a rebound off a Cavs miss, he ran down the court and popped a 3 without any hesitation. He gave the Warriors the lead, and ultimately the victory. When his team needed him most, Durant stepped up and delivered. Are there other players on the Warriors who could have made that shot? Of course! This was Kevin Durant’s time to shine, and he wasn’t going to let anyone take it from him.

You never know what you’re going to get from Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson finally had the game we were all waiting to see from him. He scored 30 points on 11-18 shooting, 6-11 on 3pt shots. It’s funny how when Thompson wasn’t having good games, the Warriors blew out Cleveland. In his breakout game of the Finals, it came down to the wire. If the Warriors want to ensure the win in game 4, maybe they should tell Thompson to have a bad game. Thompson has always played this way though. He’ll have a really bad game, and then go out and score 60 the next night. He can go off any time. It’s hard to know what you’re going to get from Thompson each night. It was good to see him find his stroke in game 3, which I think he’ll keep for the rest of this series.

When the Cavs need to score, LeBron shouldn’t pass

The Cavs were up 113-111 with about a minute left. Only being up two, the Cavs needed a score here. LeBron was driving on Durant, but then kicked it out to Kyle Korver. Korver missed a 3pt shot, which was rebounded by Durant. Durant then went down the court and buried a 3 to take the lead. There are only two players on the Cavs who should have been allowed to shoot in that situation, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. I would have much rather seen LeBron take a contested shot, than have seen Korver shooting a 3. Korver has been struggling all series long. LeBron has to take that shot. He’s too great of a player to let someone else take it.

Kyrie Irving is better when he drives

Kyrie Irving finally played like a star in this game, scoring 38 points. All of those 38 points came from inside the 3pt line. He went 0-7 from downtown. Don’t get me wrong, Kyrie Irving is a good shooter, but I would rather see him drive inside. The way Kyrie makes lay-ups is incredible. I think I’ve seen him make a lay-up in just about every way possible. When he drives, he can score against anyone. The reason I don’t like Kyrie shooting 3’s, is because most of the time when he shoots a 3, it’s not an open one. He takes a lot of contested 3pt shots. His contested lay-ups are some of the best I’ve ever seen, but he needs to learn to shoot better outside shots.

Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, and Richard Jefferson should stop shooting

Shumpert, Williams, and Jefferson combined for 0% field goal percentage on 0-7 shooting in game 3. They combined for 3 points, all coming from the free throw line. It wasn’t just this game that they’ve been terrible, it’s been the whole series. Here are their individual shooting numbers:

Iman Shumpert: 3-15 from the field (20%) and 1-7 from 3pt (14.3%)

Deron Williams: 0-9 from the field (0%) and 0-3 from 3pt (0%)

Richard Jefferson: 5-11 from the field (45.5%) and 1-6 from 3pt (16.7%)

Jefferson has the been the best of the three so far, but he’s still been bad. If he shoots anywhere inside the 3pt line, I’ll be okay with him shooting. 45.5% isn’t bad, but he shouldn’t be taking any 3pt shots. Shumpert has bothered me all series long. Whenever he gets the ball, I feel like he’s trying to be LeBron James. He tries to do things he just can’t do, which turns into a wasted possession. Williams has been awful, going scoreless in the Finals. He shouldn’t even play in game 4. I’ve been waiting for the Cavs bench to step up and give LeBron some help, but after looking at these numbers, I think the Cavs are better off if these three guys just don’t shoot.

 

The series isn’t over yet. It’s not over until someone wins 4 games. Can LeBron lead the comeback again this year? Yes. Is it unlikely? Also yes. All indications are that the Warriors will be the NBA Champions. Cavs fans might be a little disappointed with the outcome of the series, especially with last night’s game. On the bright side, we all get a free Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell!

 

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