NBA Finals Game 3 ratings up 22 percent from last year

Golden State is now one win away from its second National Basketball Association title in three seasons and just one win away from becoming the first National Basketball Association team to go through the playoffs with an undefeated record. James finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. The Warriors are a ideal 15-0.

Game 4 tips off Friday night at 9 p.m. ET.

Kevin Durant's three-point pull-up jumper with 45 seconds left in regulation proved to be the decisive basket for the Warriors, who were forced to scrap at the Cavaliers' pace for the latter part of the game. Like I said, there's no other choice.

"I've been working on that shot my whole life, and for that one to go in, that's liberating", the forward told ESPN's Doris Goodwin after the game.

The Warriors are 15-0 in the post-season and another victory in game four would see them become the first team to go through the play-offs unbeaten.

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Irving netted 16 points in the third and instead of falling well back as they had in the third periods of both prior games, the Cavs outscored Golden State 33-22 and seized their biggest edge so far in the finals, up 94-89 after three quarters.

Irving missed an off-balance 3-pointer and Durant and Curry each made two free throws on the next Golden State possessions to seal Cleveland's fate.

Cleveland could have won Game 3 had they played better in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, and their mistakes down the stretch will haunt them this summer.

But Durant was not going to be denied. Klay Thompson (30) and Steph Curry (26) made sure of that.

Curry's offensive partner, eight-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, also spoke ahead of Game 4, urging his team to stay focused.

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After a Game 1 loss, Cleveland kept pace with Golden State for a little more than half of Game 2.

Kyrie Irving's 40 points led the Cavs.

Cleveland needed everybody at the top of their game Wednesday night and for everything to go their way to win Game 3, and it did - for 44 minutes and 51 seconds. James dropped to the floor and a hush fell over Cleveland's crowd as the three-time champ laid in the foul lane. Every time James did head to the bench for a minor breather, the Warriors quickly took advantage.

Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue decided not to change his starting lineup for Game 3, sticking with the slumping Smith at shooting guard. His 13 rebounds helped but only amounted to offsetting another Tristan Thompson dud (three rebounds in 23 minutes, no points).

"So they had - it took them a good year, I thought, to figure out how to play together. But now that we're in this situation, why not take care of business and finish the job?"

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In four Triple-A appearances, including three starts, he's gone 2-1 with a 3.76 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. New York Yankees first baseman Chris Carter is back in the starting lineup on Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles .

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