Cleveland — Kevin Durant stood calmly near midcourt — and a very familiar spot — as teammates Stephen Curry and Draymond Green screamed at him in celebration.
Another momentous shot for Durant.
And soon, probably another NBA championship.
Durant scored a career playoff-high 43 points, draining a long 3-pointer in the final minute to cap his magnificent performance, and the Warriors beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-102 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night to move within a victory of a sweep, their second straight title and third championship in four years.
The Warriors are on dynasty’s doorstep.
Afterward, the defending champs could be heard loudly celebrating inside their locker room, perhaps a warmup for a bigger party to come.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are in a hole that might as well be 6 feet deep. Teams that have fallen behind 3-0 in the playoffs are 0-131.
It might be time for the guys from Northern California to order some champagne from Napa Valley.
With the Cavs down 103-100, Durant stood defiantly and almost motionless after dropping his 33-footer — just a few feet from where he made one in Game 3 last year — and effectively ended the fourth straight finals matchup between two teams who have gotten to know each other well since 2015.
After Durant scored, Curry and Green rushed to his side and the trio walked back toward Golden State’s bench where the other Warriors were hugging and high-fiving.
As always Durant stayed cool.
“I don’t want to downplay anything, but I don’t want to act like this is the end of the road,” Durant said. “So just get back to work tomorrow and figure out a better game plan.”
There was nothing James or the Cavs could do but think about what might have been after losing two games that were within their reach.
“Tonight will be tough,” said James, who scored 33 and rolled his right ankle in the first half. “When I wake up Friday morning I’ll be locked in on the game plan of what needs to be done to help our team win. That’s just who I am.”
Bryan Colangelo resigned Thursday as president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers in the wake of what an investigation found was “careless and in some instances reckless” share of sensitive team information.
The independent review by a law firm did not determine that Colangelo operated or was even aware of Twitter accounts that anonymously trashed some of his own players and fellow executives, and defended him against criticism from fans and the sports media.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP said evidence supported the conclusion that Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, operated the four accounts it investigated, and she admitted to doing so.
But the team says it had “become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised.”
Golden State leads 3-0
(All games on ABC)
Game 1: Golden State 124-114
Game 2: Golden State 122-103
Game 3: Golden State 110-102
Friday: at Cleveland, 9
x-Monday: at Golden State, 9
x-Thursday: at Cleveland, 9
x-June 17: at Golden State, 8