CLEVELAND — There are two ways to respond to what happened in Game 3 of the NBA Finals last night. The first option is the more responsible and rational approach: Don't overreact. Don't overthink it. The Cavs were due to get hot, and after going full death machine during the second half of Game 2, the Warriors were due to lose focus. We will return to our regularly-scheduled matchup nightmare in just a moment.
Wherever you fall on the belief spectrum, watching Cleveland come back from the dead was more fun than a 30-point Finals blowout ever should've been. There were Kyrie crossovers, LeBron alley-oops, Richard Jefferson-starting-in-the-2016-Finals hallucinations, J.R. threes, Tristan Thompson dunks, and lots of truly heartless Kevin Love jokes. It was delightful, and a reminder that while this Cavs team may not be on the Warriors' level, they're also not 30-points worse.
"It's the NBA," Steve Kerr said afterward. "This is how it is. Most of the teams in the league are pretty equal in talent. As Gregg Popovich used to tell me, the other guys make millions of dollars of year to play the game, too."
The question now is whether last night changes anything. The sober answer is probably not. After the Warriors came back from 3–1 against the Thunder, they'd have to be down 30 in an elimination game before anyone in basketball doubts them again.
Having said that, the Cavs team we saw Wednesday was very different than the team that everyone had written off after the first two games, and the Warriors may not be as invincible as we thought. There's room for this to get fun.
Here are three factors to consider after Game 3.
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That's was the best part of Game 3, and the best part of the Cavs coming back from the dead. It means we'll either get a much better series than expected, or Golden State will need a classic game from Curry to help finish this team on the road. Either way, I can't wait for Game 4.