Game 3 is what we hoped for from Game 7 last season
After watching a terrific game three performance by the Golden State Warriors I felt somewhat robbed. Although a fantastic tilt in every way, it appeared as though I had already seen it – or at least the first 40 minutes or so of it.
Compared to the other games in the series, both games were very close, even until deep in the fourth. Both were built on the backs of terrific performances by Steph Curry and LeBron James with Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving assisting their teams.
An ultra-competitive performance by both squads made it a nail-biter until the end. As per usual, Draymond Green found himself in foul trouble, and Kevin Love was incredibly streaky, which further inhibited my déjà vu.
Though, it seemed as though the hoop gods finally got this result right. The 73-win Warriors deserved to win Game 7 last year despite the final five-minute collapse caused by missing shots they would normally make and by an otherworldly performance by the King.
Of course, that too played a factor in the few differences between Game Seven in 2016 and last nights Game Three. “The Block” was the dagger in the heart that was the Warriors season slipping away.
Yes, Kevin Durant and Kyle Korver weren’t around last year, and they were in Cleveland rather than Oakland. And yes, Steph Curry also wasn’t a rebound leader as LeBron led the game in turnovers. Yet the game felt incredibly reminiscent of what should have happened in Game 7 last year.
Rather than melting down in the way they did just a year earlier, the Warriors were forced to do the opposite. They had to fight their way back and finished on a 10-0 run to win, just as the Cavaliers did last season.
Instead of a LeBron James chase down block to seal their fate, Andre Iguodala cleanly stole the ball on a LeBron jumper that pushed him out of bounds, and the game essentially out of reach.
Although Kyrie mentioned he wasn’t being sensitive, Irving – on the verge of tears at the podium post-game – danced around what we all witnessed, that the Golden State Warriors are simply a better team. They were a better team in last year’s finals as well, but didn’t come out on top.
Maybe the deciding factor was Kevin Durant – adding the second-best basketball player in the league tends to improve a team’s performance – but it didn’t appear like that was the difference. Yes, KD is world’s better than Harrison Barnes, but it felt like a higher power willed this game towards the Warriors after robbing them a year earlier as they did me tonight.
After taking Game Three, the Warriors look to create history by sweeping the playoffs in Game Four on Friday in Cleveland.