LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant on the NBA Finals all-time scoring list

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The Cleveland Cavaliers breathed new life into their championship hopes after securing a vital game three win over the Golden State Warriors at the Quicken Loans Arena.  

After falling behind 2-0 in the series following two tame showings in Oakland, the Cavs came into this encounter with their backs against the wall and in desperate need of a victory by any means necessary.

Led by their All-Star duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers produced one of their best performances of the season as they claimed an impressive 90-120 W in front of a raucous crowd in Ohio. 

After being heavily criticised for his little contribution in the first two games of the series, Irving responded emphatically by posting 30 points, eight assists and four rebounds.  

The point guard had the hot hand in the first quarter, in particular, as he poured in 16 points - the most points he's put up in a quarter in this postseason. 

It was James, however, who led all scorers with 32 points to go along with 11 boards and six assists. 

To add to LeBron's great night, his points total moved him into tenth on the all-time NBA Finals scoring list, moving him ahead of Kobe Bryant. 

The feat is even more impressive given the different styles of the two players. Kobe - who retired this year after 20 seasons in the league - was a pure scorer and prided himself on putting the ball in the basket. 

King James, on the other hand, has always been a willing passer and finds as much satisfaction in racking up 10 assists in a game as he does putting up 20 points. 

The four-time MVP, though, has averaged 27.1 points over his career and is competing in his sixth consecutive Finals and seventh overall. 

He now has 945 career Finals points, whereas the Black Mamba racked up 937 points during his seven trips to the promised land. 

Leading by example

In the pre-game huddle, LeBron had a simple message for his players, "Follow my lead from the beginning! And do your job!"

The two-time champion definitely led by example and his teammates certainly followed his lead. 

He put on a show for the 20,000 fans at the Q and the rest of the team responded. J.R. Smith - who struggled badly in games one and two - got his mojo back and came up huge with 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting from downtown. 

But there was no player who epitomised Cleveland's attitude better than Tristan Thompson. The Canadian showed why the franchise chose to give him a max contract as he was a bundle of energy for the entire 31 minutes he spent on the court. 

Double T recorded 14 points and 13 rebounds, 7 of which were on the offensive glass. 

"We finally got back to our game," said James. "It was a good flow, a collective team win."

After seven successive defeats to the reigning champions, the Central Division outfit had to prove they could compete with the league's best team and not go down without a fight. 

A similar effort will be required in game four on Friday night if they want to turn their hopes of securing a first ever championship into a reality again. 

Eastern Conference
Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
LeBron James

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