Durant, Warriors rally to beat Cavs 118-113

For 45 minutes in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers did plenty of good things.

But Golden State with Durant is on another level than the teams Cleveland roughed up in the Eastern Conference, and the Cavs just couldn't hold them down long enough.

"We literally have never once mentioned 16-0", Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Tuesday.

- NBA TV (@NBATV) June 8, 2017 " He knows this is his moment. "He's been an unbelievable player in this league for a long time, and he senses this is his time, his moment, his team".

Still, Durant isn't looking too far ahead.

"They're a juggernaut of a team", said Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 38 points in game three. I don't want to relax. "Basketball is a insane game. Anything can happen. So I don't want to relax or feel like it's over, it's not".

Durant led the Warriors with 31 points, with 30 from Klay Thompson and 26 from Stephen Curry as they close in on a second title in three years.

The Warriors been on a mission from the minute the buzzer sounded following their NBA Finals collapse past year, and they only needed to check a few more boxes before claiming the trophy.

But look again. That's 10.5 seconds that runs off the clock between Curry's rebound and Kyle Korver's foul of Kevin Durant.

The Cavs had a plus-minus of plus-7 in the 46 minutes James played and were minus-12 in the two minutes he rested. Then cold reality hit the whole city with that shot, the key to a closing 11-0 run.

Cavs fans couldn't have asked for more than they got from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on Wednesday night. Love grabbed 21 rebounds in Game 1 and scored 27 points in Game 2, but he's been a liability on the defensive end.

Former Celtic Paul Pierce, who started a social media firestorm this week for suggesting Durant had surpassed LeBron James as the world's best player, had fun after Durant made what is probably the series-winning 3.

"They're a great team, but I think we're a great team also".

But Durant was not going to be denied.

"You understand the journey and how much of the energy it took from a mental and physical standpoint in order to come back from something like that", said Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving.

The 7-footer finished 10 of 18 from the field with eight rebounds and four assists. For comparison, James averaged 16.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 4.7 apg with a 51.2 shooting percentage during the second half of games in the 2016 NBA Finals.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving played their best games of these Finals, combining for 77 points, relentlessly attacking the rim. And it led many people to wonder why Smith had taken it down.

Cavaliers: James (1,175) passed Sam Jones (1,143), Bill Russell (1,151) and Elgin Baylor (1,161) to move into fourth place on the NBA Finals scoring list. James needs two points to pass Michael Jordan (1,176) for third on that list.

The thrilling back-and-forth affair was the first close game of the finals, but the Cavaliers will now have to do what no National Basketball Association team has ever done in the playoffs, win four straight games after going down 0-3 in a series.