Fans did not get another overtime, but Game 3 of the 2015 NBA Finals lived up to the excitement of the first two contests.
Despite league MVP Stephen Curry finding his shooting stroke in the second half, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers powered past the Warriors, 96-91, to take a 2-1 series lead.
Here’s what you need to know if you missed Game 3.
Star of the Game: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
What more can you say? James put together a clinic on how to play basketball, posting 40 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, four steals, and two blocks. After three games, James in on a historic pace: He joins Michael Jordan as the only player to average more than 41 points over the first three games of an NBA Finals series. In this series, James is averaging 41.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 8.3 assists.
Play of the Game: Matthew Dellavedova picks up the and-one
With only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter, Warriors guard Stephen Curry hit a massive 3-pointer to cut Cleveland’s lead to only a single point. The Cavaliers brought the ball back up the court and passed it to guard Matthew Dellavedova. The Australian was pressured by Curry and nearly lost the ball, but recovered and threw up a wild shot as he was fouled and knocked to the ground. Dellavedova banked in the shot and was fouled, which gave Cleveland a four-point lead with less than 2:30 left to play.
Number of the Game: 32.5
Outside of Curry, the Golden State Warriors shot only 32.5 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from the 3-point line. The Warriors are a team known for their offense, but Cleveland’s defense has done a good job containing them. For the series, Golden State is shooting only 41.4 percent from the field. It shot 47.8 percent during the regular season.
Surprise of the Game: Matthew Dellavedova’s effectiveness
Despite coming in as a no-name player, Cleveland guard Matthew Dellavedova has been one of the most important players in this series. Against Golden State in Game 3, Dellavedova scored 20 points and dished four assists. Even more importantly, he has been the primary defender on Stephen Curry and helped contain him below his lofty season averages.
Advanced Stat of the Game: Percent of team production
LeBron is having one of the most dominant playoff series ever through three games. But perhaps more impressively, James has produced a total of 38.1 percent of the Cavaliers’ points, rebounds, and assists combined. If he keeps this up, he would shatter Shaquille O’Neal’s record of 33.6 percent over the course of a series.
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
2015 NBA Finals Game 3: By the Numbers
In The Mag This Month