The 2018 NBA Finals shifts to Cleveland as the Cavaliers and Warriors face off in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Tipoff from The Q is at 9:00 p.m. (ET).
Despite dropping Game 2, 122-103, in Oakland on Sunday evening, the Wine & Gold get the opportunity to make a dent in the Warriors’ 2-0 Finals lead while playing in front of their home crowd, where they’re 8-1 this postseason.
In fact, since Game 1 of their First Round series against Indiana (4/18/18), the Cavaliers have won eight-straight games at The Q, tying their longest home win streak in franchise playoff history (4/17/16 – 6/8/16). Over their current home win streak, Cleveland is outscoring its opponents by an average of 12.0 points (109.0-97.0), shooting .488 from the field and .391 from beyond the arc.
As mentioned, the Cavs will use the Wine & Gold fans to their advantage on Wednesday as they try to overcome a 2-0 series deficit for the fourth time in franchise playoff history and second time this postseason (2007 ECF vs. DET, 2016 Finals vs. GSW, 2018 ECF vs. BOS).
Only four teams have rallied from an 0-2 series deficit in The Finals, which includes the Cavaliers 4-3 win over Golden State in 2016. The others are the 1969 Boston Celtics (over Los Angeles Lakers, 4-3), the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers (over Philadelphia 76ers, 4-2) and the 2006 Miami Heat (over Dallas Mavericks, 4-2).
With the crowd on their side these next two games, the Cavs will want to continue excelling at one of their best areas of play: rebounding. Cleveland has outrebounded the Warriors by an average of 8.0 rebounds (47.5-39.5) so far in this series while also averaging 17.5 offensive boards and 20.0 second chance points.
The Wine & Gold are also going to need great individual efforts from a number of players.
LeBron James (1,327 PTS), who passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,317 PTS) for second place on the all-time NBA Finals points list, has had an excellent series so far and will look to mimic his last two performances this Wednesday night in Cleveland.
On Sunday in Game 2, James posted a double-double (29 PTS, 13 AST, 9 REB, 2 STL, 44 MIN) and now has 14 double-doubles this postseason, tying his career high (14 in 2015). Through two games this series, LBJ is averaging 40.0 points on .558 (29-52) shooting from the field, .455 (5-11) from deep, .850 (17-20) from the foul line, 8.5 rebounds, 10.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 45.5 minutes.
James’ fellow starter, Kevin Love, will also look to tally a similar performance from Game 2. On Sunday, Love recorded his seventh double-double this postseason and second straight 20-10 performance with 22 points, a game-high 10 rebounds, two steals and a block in 35 minutes.
At the other end of court, the Warriors will be looking to grab an all-important 3-0 series lead on Wednesday after snagging their Game 2 win on the back of Steph Curry.
In Game 2, Curry led his squad with 33 points off 11-26 shooting from the field, while also tying the record for most three-pointers made in a Finals game after hitting nine deep balls through 38 minutes.
Kevin Durant also excelled from the floor for Golden State, hitting 10-of-14 shots from the field as well as 2-for-3 from downtown for 26 points.
Where to Catch the Action
FOX Sports Ohio: Before and after all Cavs playoffs games, FOX Sports Ohio will provide pre- and postgame coverage hosted by Jeff Phelps and Campy Russell that will include reporting and analysis from Fred McLeod, Austin Carr and Allie Clifton, with guest appearances from former Cavs coach Mike Fratello.
Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega
As Quicken Loans Arena starts to get dressed for the 2018 Finals, fans can burn some time before Wednesday’s Game 3 with these facts and milestones.
From a league perspective, LeBron James (237 GP) will pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (237 GP) for sole possession of the fourth-most playoff games played by any player with an appearance in Game 3. James (109 30-pt games) also needs one more 30-point game to break a tie with Michael Jordan (109 30-pt games) for the most in NBA playoff history.
Also, with another 40-point outing, James will hold the NBA record for most 40-point performances in a single postseason (currently tied with Jerry West, who had eight such games in 1965).
JR Smith (282 3FGM), on the other hand, is just four triples shy of moving past Derek Fisher (285 3FGM) for eighth place in career playoff three-pointers.
From a franchise perspective, Kevin Love (587 REB) is 13 rebounds away from 600 for his postseason career and also needs 11 field goals to pass Zydrunas Ilgauskas (313 FGM) for third place on the Cavaliers all-time playoff field goals made list.
Swish is also just four baskets away from passing Brad Daugherty (275 FGM) for seventh place on that list.
Following Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals, the Cavs and Warriors will do battle in Cleveland again this Friday for Game 4. Tipoff from The Q is set for 9:00 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on ABC. If necessary, Game 5 will be played back at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Monday, June 11 at 9:00 p.m. (ET) and will also be televised on ABC.