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Durant’s dagger 3 lifts Warriors over Cavs in Game 3

  • Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, left, and Kevin Durant talk in the final moments against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Golden State won 118-113. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Tony Dejak

  • Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts in the closing moments against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Golden State won 118-113. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) Ron Schwane

  • Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives on Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, right, during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Golden State won 118-113. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Tony Dejak

  • 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. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) Ron Schwane

  • Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) vie for a loose ball during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. The Warriors won 118-113. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Tony Dejak

  • Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love reacts during the second half of the Golden State Warriors' 118-113 win in Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Tony Dejak

  • Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts as Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) walks away during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) Ron Schwane

  • Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots in front of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) Ron Schwane

  • Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee (1) defends Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) Ron Schwane

  • Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives between Golden State Warriors' Matt Barnes (22) and Andre Iguodala (9) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Tony Dejak



Associated Press
Thursday, June 08, 2017

CLEVELAND — Kevin Durant drained the shot of his professional life — a 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left — and scored 31 points as the Golden State Warriors moved within one win of postseason perfection and payback by rallying to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113 on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors trailed by six with three minutes left before Durant, who signed with Golden State last summer to win a championship, brought them back, scoring 14 in the fourth.

With their 15th straight win, the Warriors have the longest postseason streak for any team in the four major professional sports.

And with a victory in Game 4 on Friday night, Golden State can exorcise those haunting demons from last June when the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals to the Cavaliers. Not team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit.

Klay Thompson added 30 points and Stephen Curry had 26 for this California Dream Team now one win from its second title in three years.

LeBron James shook off a knee-buckling blow to the chin while scoring 39 and Kyrie Irving added 38 for the Cavs, who took a 113-107 lead with 3:09 left on J.R. Smith’s 3-pointer.

Curry hit a layup and after both James and Irving missed for the Cavs, Durant dropped his 3 — a shot that could be the one most remembered in this magnificent run by the Warriors.

After the Warriors went up, Irving missed a 3 from his favorite spot on the right side and the Warriors closed it out with four free throws in the final 12.9 seconds before celebrating briefly on the floor and then charging down the hallway to their locker room.

After winning Games 1 and 2 by a combined 41 points at home, the Warriors had to scrap for all 48 minutes to take down the Cavs, who will need a similar effort to avoid being swept by a team with few weaknesses.