CLEVELAND -- The Warriors this postseason seem to have solved their most consistent problem they faced last postseason.
After going 0-4 in Game 3s last postseason, the Warriors will try to make it a clean 4-0 this postseason when they take the floor Wednesday night against the Cavaliers for Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena.
Though the Warriors won all three Game 3s thus far, the win margin of nine is the smallest of any game. They’ve also trailed in all three -- by 17 at Portland, by nine at Utah and by six in San Antonio -- and that’s a situation they desperately want to avoid in Cleveland.
Warriors by 3.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Kevin Durant vs LeBron James: It’s the first to four wins and Durant has won the first two rounds. He’s making James work so hard on defense that the Cavs are swapping in other defenders; there is speculation Iman Shumpert will get more time against Durant. Meanwhile, Durant is doing a nice job of protecting the paint while also defending James. James needs a dominating performance. He’s capable and without it the Cavs are in deep trouble.
Warriors: No injuries listed.
Cavaliers: C Edy Tavares (R hand fracture) is listed as out.
ROAD TO THE FINALS
Warriors: Posted a 67-15 record in the regular season to earn the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. Swept Portland in four games in the first round, swept Utah in four in the Western Conference semifinals and swept San Antonio in four in the conference finals.
Cavs: Were 51-31 in the regular season to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Swept Indiana in four games in the first round, swept Toronto in four in the conference semifinals, defeated Boston in five games in the conference finals.
Game 1: Warriors 113, Cavaliers 91. Game 2: Warriors 132, Cavaliers 113.
The teams split two games in the regular season, the Cavs with a 109-108 victory on Christmas Day in Cleveland, the Warriors a 126-91 win on Jan. 16 in Oakland. The Warriors are 12-8 against the Cavs over the past three seasons, including 8-6 in the postseason.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Steph vs. Kyrie: Curry has been superior to Irving, which one reason the Warriors are up 2-0. With so much expected of James, it’s imperative of Irving to find his “A” game. Klay Thompson’s defense has taken that away. Expect the Cavs to do more off-the-ball stuff to create ways to get Irving away from Thompson.
The role players: As a rule, non-stars tend to perform better at home. The Cavs certainly need to get more out of the likes of Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Channing Frye and Shumpert. That also applies to starters Tristan Thompson and JR Smith. This is where we find out if the Warriors are simply too good on defense.
The early rush: The Warriors firmly believe one of the keys for them is avoiding early onslaughts by the Cavs, who expect to come out aggressively. If they can keep the crowd out of it and not let the Cavs build momentum, they’re much more confident about their chances.