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Cavs drop Game 3 110-102, face elimination on Friday

Cleveland’s season now hangs in the balance.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers now find themselves on the brink of elimination.

With a 110-102 loss in Wednesday’s Game 3, the Cavs now trail the Warriors 3-0 in the NBA Finals, and must win Friday at home in order to extend the series to at least a Game 5. And when Cleveland looks back on Game 3, it will likely rue a missed opportunity.

The Cavs came out aggressive, getting out to a 6-2 lead in the opening minute. James put an exclamation point on the quarter, with 9:42 to play, he threw the ball off the backboard to himself for a layup. Cleveland even survived a 16-6 Warriors run in the first to take a 29-28 lead into the second quarter. And in the second, the Cavs pushed their lead up to as many as 13 points — a new series high — before taking a six-point lead into the half. A Kevin Durant three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in the first half kept it from being a nine-point Cleveland advantage.

The Warriors, as they do, came out strong in the third quarter and took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter. In the quarter, the Cavs were outscored 31-23.

It was much of the same in the fourth, with the Warriors always being just a little bit better then the Cavs. Cleveland did lead with as little as three minutes left before a Steph Curry basket with 2:59 to play put the Warriors up by one. Andre Iguodala stripped Kevin Love on the next Cleveland possession and it turned into a Curry three-pointer. After a James three-pointer with 1:59 to go put the Cavs down just one, a Igudoala dunk with 1:37 to play and a Durant three-pointer with 49.8 seconds go — from almost the same spot he hit one last year — ended the Cavs’ chances of picking up its first win of the series. It also marks the Cavs’ first loss in Cleveland since the first game of the playoffs.

Durant led all scorers with 43 points. Curry had just 10 points on 3-16 shooting, including a 1-10 mark from three. James led the Cavs with 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Love added 20 points and 13 rebounds. Rodney Hood also scored 15 points off the bench in his return to the rotation.

Up next: Game 4 of the Finals takes place Friday in Cleveland. Tipoff is at 9 p.m.