The key to the Golden State Warriors successful Game 3 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday some might say is down to how each team performed in the last three minutes or so in the fourth quarter.
The statistics show that in the final 2:45 of the game, Golden State scored 11 points, being 3-for-3 in field goals, and 4-for-4 free throws, helping them win 118-113 on the night. Cleveland, on the other hand, didn't manage a single point in the same timeframe, being 0-for-8 in field goals.
One of the factors that may have come into play for the Cavaliers near the end of the game is tiredness, and that was the gameplan which Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had, to wait for fatigue to come into play.
Kerr recalled telling his players throughout the game to stay on top of Cleveland, especially LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, as they're bound to get tired at some point, and that factor will play into their favour.
He said, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN: "They're going to get tired. Stay in front of them. Force them into outside shots, if you can. Fatigue will play a role.
"We just felt like the way they play, Kyrie and LeBron had it going the whole game, but that's pretty taxing to go one-on-one the whole game. Both those guys were amazing, 38 and 39. But that takes a lot out of you.
"And I think when you get guys playing 45, 44 minutes, basically attacking one-on-one the whole game, it's -- you hope eventually it's going to take its toll," Kerr added. "I wasn't sure after a while; they just were going nuts. But I think that we just stayed with it, and our defense finally kicked in."
James scored 39 points, with 11 rebounds and nine assists in about 46 minutes. Irving finished with 38 points in about 44 minutes, but the rest of the Cavaliers simply couldn't step up to the plate, and the Warriors made them pay for it.
Neither player has admitted to being tired after the game, and several Golden State players have said they doubted they ever would despite Kerr's comments, but the Finals series score after three games speaks for itself. Tiredness or not, Cleveland simply hasn't been playing good enough.
James said: "No, only missed shots. We missed shots. I gave everything that I had, so at times throughout the game I was tired, but that's just because I was just playing as hard as I could. But I was able to get second and third and fourth winds. I don't contribute as losing this game because we got tired. We missed some shots, and they made some."
Game 4 will certainly be very interesting tonight as it is a must-win game for Cleveland if they want to keep their NBA Championship dreams alive. They can't afford to get tired in this game, otherwise, another title is going to be on its way to the Bay.