James might have played his final game for the Cavaliers. Yet Golden State won anyway with relative ease because Durant took over the game, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the Warriors' scoring output while also leading the team in rebounds (13) and assists (7). That might have given Durant the MVP edge. But the Cavaliers have shown before that they can make history, so this series is still far from over.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are now just one win away from another NBA Championship after outlasting the Cavaliers in their own building. Houston finished seven games ahead of the Warriors in the regular season, earning the right to be the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs.
"When a guy like Kevin Durant is hitting these shots, it's a joy to watch. I feel like it saved my life", Durant said. The Warriors lead the series 3-0 with Game 4 on Thursday.
Shaw has been a photographer for Getty Images for 20 years, charged with the hard task of taking a sport as kinetic as basketball and capturing it into still moment for both next-day recaps and basketball historians who will look back on the Warriors-Cavaliers rivalry for years to come.
"He's a bad boy, and I love having him on our team", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.
"When you make mistakes they make you pay", he said, "because they're already more talented than you are but they also have the minds behind it, too, and they also have the championship DNA". That's what this team does. But they got lucky in Game 1, Curry went off in Game 2, Durant matched him in Game 3 and then, for the Cavs, all was lost. Lue made a decision to play Rodney Hood last night, after benching him for most of the Celtics series. In only his second game since missing six in a row with a bruised knee, the wise veteran delivered 11 points, nine of them coming from behind the arc.
TIP-INS - Warriors: Curry made a 3-pointer in his record 90th consecutive postseason game and extended his mark for 3s in road playoff games to 44. Klay Thompson wasn't able to score much either, with just 10 points. Andre Iguodala has three off the bench. Shaun Livingston has only missed 1 field goal this entire series, pitching in 8 points.
"Every season is very different", Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
Its that kind of team performance that has been the Warriors key to success.
Durant, the engine behind the Warriors' offensive juggernaut, averaged 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game as his team needed four games to dispose of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Sources told ESPN that the injury was the result of James' punching a whiteboard in the locker room after that game.
This has only been matched by Shaquille O'Neal (first 20) and Michael Jordan (first 21). "How do you put together a group of talent but also a group of minds to be able to compete with Golden State, to be able to compete for a championship?" In Game 2, he set an National Basketball Association playoff mark by converting nine threes in a single contest.
"No team has ever come back from 3-1 either, and we did it", Lue said, referring to the Cavs' comeback to stun the Warriors in the 2016 Finals. You let your guard down. Could we see the same thing happen this year? Start making preparations for celebrations.