Cleveland Cavaliers come up big

There's been much talk amongst fans of late as to who's the best overall player in these Finals, and whether LeBron James can truly win a title again without help. Along with this, there's the sense that a lot of fans have simply jumped on the Warriors bandwagon just because it's the "in thing" of the moment and a popular thing to do. Until tonight's Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland, most of the LeBron haters and Golden State bandwagoners have been justified in their criticism of the Cavaliers. Golden State essentially mopped the floor with Cleveland in the first two games of these 2016 NBA Finals, on top of which, Golden State has been the golden child of the NBA with their record-setting 73-win season and their comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.

Essentially, tonight's game was a must-win for the Cavs, as there was no way that the team could hope to come back if they found themselves in a 3-0 hole. To put it simply, the Cavaliers answered the call.

Warriors sluggish, disjointed in Game 3

Tonight's game was nothing short of completely flipping the script of the first 2. The Cavaliers came out in attack mode and maintained that intensity throughout the course of the entire game. They got to the loose balls, they tightened their defensive screws, and they played like they were the defending champions. The tandem of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving finished with 32 and 30 points respectively, LeBron finally coming out engaged for the first time in the series, and Kyrie Irving finally playing at the level he was last year in the Finals before his season-ending injury.

Meanwhile, for the Warriors, the 3-point shot that they've relied on all year to get themselves back into games simply did not fall tonight. The Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shot a combined 4-16 from beyond the arc, and Draymond Green was a non-factor on the floor.

The take from Game 3

On the one hand, you can say that the Cavs got one win, big deal. The Warriors have faced worse odds and have come out on top when it mattered most -- including last year's win against these same Cavaliers. On the other, however, this could potentially be a dangerous situation heading into Game 4.

The Cavaliers didn't just manage to eek out a win against the defending champions, it was a 30-point blowout. The Cavaliers have the next game on their home floor, but, perhaps even more importantly than that, they now have a sense of belief in their ability to take the fight to Golden State and come out of it victorious. The Cavaliers also managed to get this win while Kevin Love was sidelined with a concussion.

There's no question that the Cavaliers still have a chip on their shoulder from last year's Finals defeat, and, whatever happens in Game 4, whether they even up the series at 2 games a piece, or whether the Warriors come back to take a 3-1 lead, it has to feel good for the Cavaliers to get a win under their belt in these 2016 NBA Finals.

Tune in to Game 4, Friday on ABC.

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