Something must have happened to cause a 63 point turnaround from games two to three of the 2016 NBA Finals.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that this can happen from time to time in the league.
“Every team you go against has great talent. Every player in the NBA is a great player. If you let your guard down and the other team is angry, then you can see this kind of turnaround," Kerr said.
"It's happened in every series for them, every series for us -- maybe not for them, but for us, it's happened.”
Their coach is absolutely right. For the first two games of this series, Golden State looked like a vastly superior team. The Cavaliers seemed to play them off the floor in game three, though.
The Warriors’ inconsistency in game threes has been mystifying during these playoffs.
They will look to correct these mistakes to take a commanding lead back to Oracle for game five.
Cleveland came out early and established a 9-0 lead which forced an early timeout for their visitors. The Dubs fought back but that early haymaker seemed to set the tone for the rest of this contest.
Harrison Barnes had a solid night for the Bay Area franchise with 18 points and eight rebounds. He also did the best he could to keep a manic Tristan Thompson from scooping up every rebound in sight. Barnes addressed the urgency the Warriors would need to take into the next game.
The forward said: “All of the above. It’s [getting the] 50-50 basketball, offensive rebounds, just our cuts, their physicality on defence. All of these things they were doing were not the same things that were being done in games one and two.
"We knew that obviously when you’re down 2-0 the team is going to come out desperate. With the opportunity to go up 3-0, we should’ve matched that.”
All the little things on top of the offensive explosion doomed the Warriors in this encounter. One thing that could change all of that would be a better showing from the reigning MVP, Steph Curry.
The normally dazzling Curry finished with 19 points and was plagued by foul trouble for the second straight game. He shot just 3-of-9 from beyond the arc as he struggled with his stroke for much of the night.
Looking ahead to game four, the two-time MVP said: “I've just got to be aggressive and play better, and be more assertive in my scoring positions and my playmaking positions on the floor. Yeah, there's a sense of urgency knowing how big game four is, and I need to be ready.”
If he’s ready, that could be enough to turn the series back around and make Golden State almost impossible to beat.