The Cleveland Cavaliers took a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Atlanta Hawks after winning game 3 in overtime, 114-111. After the Cavaliers blew the Hawks out of their home building in game 2, Atlanta came to Cleveland with more urgency and effort. It got chippy, and Al Horford was ejected after throwing an elbow at Matthew Dellavedova.
The game was close throughout, neither team able to build a double-digit lead. With the game tied, the Hawks had a chance to win it in regulation, but Jeff Teague’s failed to hit the jumper. A hobbled LeBron James took control in overtime, scoring Cleveland’s last five points to secure the victory.
James had the worst start of his career, going 0-of-10 from the field to start the first half, but he didn’t stop attacking and finished with a monstrous triple-double, scoring 37 points and adding 18 rebounds and 13 assists. He took a total of 37 field goal attempts, a career-high as well.
Lebron has always prided himself on being an efficient player, but ever since Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving have been on the sidelines, James has been forced to be more assertive on offense than ever before. In this postseason, he averages 25.2 FGA per game, 7 shots per game more than he attempted in last year’s playoff run. Different situations demand different measures, and James understands that with the current group, he must do it all, averaging 27.9 points (3rd), 10.5 rebounds (9th) and 8.4 assists (3rd) in the postseason.
The Hawks are seeing their title dreams chattered after an incredible regular season. They are down 3-0 in the series, and history shows that a comeback is very unlikely. Of the 116 teams that have been down in a seven-game series, only three teams were able to force a game 7, but none of them have come back to win it. The Hawks are looking to overcome Cleveland’s swarming defense, injuries and history to keep their chances alive.
Game 4 will be played on Wednesday, 10:30 AM AEST.