(Reuters) - The defending champion Golden State Warriors overcame a hot start by the Cleveland Cavaliers to earn a 110-102 victory on Wednesday and take a 3-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven NBA Finals.
Kevin Durant torched the Cavaliers with a playoff-career high 43 points as the Warriors overcame a 13-point, first-half deficit to close in on their third NBA title in four seasons.
“That was amazing what he did out there tonight,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “Some of those shots, I don’t think anybody in the world can hit those but him. He was incredible.”
The teams were locked in a tight battle for most of the second half and the outcome was up in the air until a Durant three-pointer from well beyond the arc put the Warriors ahead by six and all but sealed the game with 50 seconds to play.
The Cavaliers, who were powered by a 33-point performance from LeBron James, will now try to become the first NBA team to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a series.
The Cavs had a near-perfect start and built a 16-4 lead during a wild stretch that saw James whip the home crowd into a frenzy when he threw an alley-opp pass to himself off the backboard.
With Warriors guard Stephen Curry suffering a rare off-night, putting up a paltry 3-of-16 shooting, it looked like the Cavs might have a chance to breathe some life back into the series and they led by six at the half.
But the Warriors grabbed their first lead of the game during a 17-6 run to start the third quarter, setting the stage for a tense finish to a game that saw 11 lead changes.
While it was a quiet night from Curry and Klay Thompson, who finished with 10 points, the Cavaliers simply had no answer to Durant.
“He’s one of the best one-on-one players in our league. Top two best players in our league,” said Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue.
“Holding Steph to 11 points and Klay to 10, you would think you would win that game. So the guys did a good job on those two guys.
“And I thought Durant hurt us with his one-on-one, getting to the free-throw line a little bit. But his one-on one ability really saved them again tonight.”
Golden State will get their first chance to close out the series on Friday in Cleveland.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford