Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant's clutch shot brings familiar Finals feeling to LeBron James and the Cavs

#Dursant

CLEVELAND - Warriors forward Kevin Durant hit the same shot from almost the same spot.

This time, it was a 33-foot 3-pointer from the left wing that might cut a little deeper for the Cavs fans who were in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday.

Deeper spot, same shot, same result. It gave Golden State a 110-102 victory that creates the same 3-0 hole for the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, but Durant insists that this is a different game, different season and different vibe.

Cleveland fans were silenced in the same fashion, but the Warriors rejoiced a little more in this moment. Draymond Green and Stephen Curry stood on both sides of Durant screaming while the 6-9 (or so he says) forward didn't break character. Green described it "almost like I was cussing him out." Curry called it "supreme confidence."

Don't let Durant fool you, though. He enjoyed every second of it.

"Don't get me wrong, every time I make a shot in the NBA I get excited," Durant said. "I just internalize it a little bit as I get older a little bit more than I did as a younger player. So, I was definitely excited."

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Sure Not Now

That capped a 43-point, 13-rebound, seven-assist masterpiece for Durant, another legacy-building game. It was reminiscent of the outing last year that gave the Warriors a 118-113 win in Game 3 and sets Golden State up for a chance at a third championship in four years in Game 4 on Friday.

Durant, once again, has taken over the center stage. When Durant is that efficient from the floor - he shot 15-of-23 overall and 6-of-9 from 3-point range - Golden State is almost unbeatable. On a night when Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 7-of-27, Durant kept the Warriors in the game.

"It wasn't just the number of points," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "It seemed like every time we needed a bucket he got it for us."

Cleveland threw the first punch with a 14-4 run to start the first quarter, but Durant allowed Golden State to hang around with 13 first-quarter points on 4-of-4 shooting.

That continued in the second quarter. Durant scored 24 points in the first half on 7-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range. That came when his teammates were an uncharacteristic 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Durant capped that half with a deep 3-pointer in the final seconds before walking toward the locker room - which served as foreshadowing. The Warriors trailed 58-52 at halftime, but without Durant putting on an offensive clinic, the Cavs certainly would have been up by double-digits.

"If my shots were there I just took them patiently and with poise," Durant said. "I found some great spots, and my teammates did a great job of setting screens to set me up."

The Warriors recaptured the lead and held it at 83-81 heading into the fourth quarter. That set up a back-and-forth before the dramatic final three minutes, and the Cavs cut the deficit to 101-100 after a deep 3-pointer from LeBron James.

On the ensuing possession, Durant drove, then dished for an easy basket for Andre Iguodala. After a Tristan Thompson miss, Durant ran down the shot clock then pulled up from 33 feet.

"It was a big shot," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. "He was four or five feet behind the line. He raised up and made a big shot for them, kind of like he did last year."

That gives Durant another forever-replayed moment - one that measures a little farther than last year's 3-pointer that helped the superstar forward win his first championship ring. He took control of the moment for the second straight season and pushed the Cavaliers one step closer to the brink of elimination and an uncomfortable offseason.

If James is the reason the Warriors signed Durant, then Durant might be the reason James chooses another home. That point was driven home seven-feet deeper this time. Golden State is still the team to beat, and Durant is what puts them above every other contender.

"The same wing, different location, but you definitely tip your hat," James said. "That's what he does... He's an assassin, and that was one of those assassin plays."

It might be a different year, but it's the same story. For Durant, however, it's simply another chapter, and he isn't thinking about last year's shot or this one. He's thinking about the next one.

"I'm not done playing basketball yet so I don't look at these as defining moments," Durant said. "I don't want to downplay anything, but I don't want to act like this the end of the road."

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