Kevin Durant saw the clock read 45 seconds and the Cleveland Cavaliers were ahead, 113-111. He knew LeBron James was approaching as Durant neared the arc and sniped for and connected the trey. When the clock expired the scoreboard read 118-113, giving the Golden State Warriors a commanding 3-0 lead and just a game away from winning the NBA Finals 2017.
With the win, the Warriors handed to the Cavaliers a stunning loss and the daunting task of winning the remaining four games of the Finals series. According to The Australian, "no team in NBA playoff history has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series," which is like saying King James and his crew might as well say goodbye to the prospect of lifting anew the Larry O'Brien Trophy this year.
But the Cavaliers were no strangers to doing the impossible. NBA Finals of 2016, the GSW was ahead 3-1 against the Cavs but the latter have managed to sweep the last three games of that historic series. In humiliating the Warriors last year, James and the Cavs set history by becoming the first team to recover from the deficit.
Will it be another history writing Finals series this year? If so, Durant would want the Warriors as the victors to write the book. Durant, in fact, is chasing good history, hoping that his transfer from Oklahoma to Oakland will pay off - that he'll get to finally win an NBA ring.
Basing on what is happening so far, Durant's dreams may just come true. The Warriors' winning streak since the start of the 2017 playoffs remains unblemished. GSW shut out all their previous opponents for the right to meet the Cavaliers it looks like they are on their way for a perfect 16-0 2017 playoffs record.
But the GSW got a bit of a scare in Game 3. James and Kyrie Irving dominated the second half and according to The New York Times the two players poured in a total 77 points in the game. And when the Cavs closed the third quarter at 94-89 and in the process saw their biggest edge in the series so far, it looked like Durant the Warriors will taste the agony of defeat again after 14 successive wins.
But KD, who was struggling for openings in the better part of the games, took matters into his own hand and buried his last throw of the game from beyond the arc. Stephen Curry again stepped up in the final stretch of the last period and worked in tandem with Durant for the Warriors' 11-0 run that all but decided the outcome of the game.
In the end, the GSW firepower provided by Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson - all three combined for 87 points - was enough to overwhelm the losing efforts of James and Irving. The defeat suffered by Cleveland came as the Cavs role players came out and delivered what's expected of them, making the loss even more agonizing.
Going into Game 4, the opposing teams and players will continue chasing history. Kevin Durant will seek to earn his first NBA ring, likely win the Finals MVP honor and possibly bump off LeBron James as the best player on the planet. For the Cavaliers, the chief task is to win one game at a time and possibly deny everything that Durant and the GSW aspire for.