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Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors

The Finals Stat: Game 3 — Kevin Durant leads the Warriors from outside

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Kevin Durant (Getty Images)

CLEVELAND - He did it again.

In Game 3 of the 2017 Finals, Kevin Durant hit the biggest shot of the series, pulling up from 3-point range to give the Warriors a 114-113 lead with 45.3 seconds left.

In Game 3 of the 2018 Finals, Durant again hit the biggest shot of the series, pulling up from almost the exact same spot to give the Warriors a 106-102 lead with 49.8 seconds left.

The defending champs are one win away from their second straight championship after their 110-102 victory at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday. Durant led the way with 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, helping the Warriors overcome a 3-for-16 shooting performance from Stephen Curry and LeBron James' 23rd career postseason triple-double.

One stat stood out from the rest as the Warriors took a 3-0 series lead, with a chance to close out in Game 4 on Friday.

The stat

11-for-15 - Durant's shooting from outside the paint in Game 3.

The context

The rest of the Warriors (the best shooting team in NBA history) shot 4-for-22 from outside the paint.

Durant essentially carried his team, in the style of James, to this win. Curry had the worst shooting game of his postseason career. Klay Thompson had a relatively quiet night. The Warriors got Andre Iguodala back and he made an impact, but was afraid to shoot from the outside.

Durant's jumper, meanwhile, was all kinds of wet. He entered Game 3 as the only player who had shot better than 50 percent on at least 50 mid-range field goal attempts in the playoffs, having attempted 28 more mid-range shots than anybody else. After shooting 5-for-6 from between the paint and the 3-point line on Wednesday, he's at 54.5 percent from mid-range for the postseason. The rest of the league? 38.1 percent.

James had been shooting almost as well from mid-range, but didn't attempt a single mid-range shot on Wednesday. And he was just 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. He still managed to finish with 33 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, his NBA Finals record 10th triple-double.

Durant made six of his nine 3s, 2-for-3 on catch-and-shoot attempts and 4-for-6 off the dribble. The six 3s were his most in 126 career playoff games. He kept his team in the game when the Cavs came out hot early, and he closed the deal with the last-minute dagger.

Durant not only led all scorers with 43 points. He was also a game-high plus-15 in his 43-plus minutes, meaning that the Warriors were outscored by seven points in his 4:45 on the bench.

* * *

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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