For as much talk as there has been between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving (and even Kevin Love) or the past few days, none of that seemed to matter much tonight. The three combined for 66 points in the Cavs 101-91 Game 3 win over the Pistons to give the Cavs a 3-0 series lead.
The story coming into the game had, well, not much to with the game on the court as much as it did off the court, where Pistons forward Stanley Johnson made comments about how he was "in LeBron's head." Whatever type of motivation he was trying to spark for the Pistons didn't work, as although LeBron struggled shooting tonight (he finished 8-of-24 from the floor), the Cavs were plus-17 when he was on the court and did his share of moving the ball around to find open shooters, finishing with a team-high seven assists.
Of those seven assists, however, none were bigger than his final one. With the Cavs only up five with less than a minute left in the game, they had the ball out of bounds with 0.7 seconds left on the shot clock. Out of a timeout, Matthew Dellavedova hit Irving in the opposite corner, where Irving knocked down a fadeaway three-pointer to put the game out of reach for Detroit. Just as big as the three-pointer was the celebration by the two after the shot, where LeBron raced from the baseline to halfcourt with his hands in the air in celebration.
While the main focus of tonight's game dealt more with LeBron against the Pistons, it was other two-thirds of the Big 3 that proved to be the difference makers. Irving looked a lot like his typical self, scoring a game-high 26 points and getting those points in a variety of ways -- behind the arc, the pull-up midrange jumper and attacking the basket. And despite only 10 shots from Love, he still finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
With tonight's win, the Cavs move one step -- and one game -- closer toward advancing to the next round. Will the Cavs be able to get their second straight first round series? Or will Detroit be able to sneak one win at home to send it back to Cleveland?
Correction: a previous version of this article indicated that LeBron James passed to Irving with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. It was Matthew Dellavedova, not LeBron.