It seems that rumors of the Cleveland Cavaliers' demise were highly exaggerated.
Here are three big takeaways from their 120-90 trouncing of the visiting Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on ABC15 to cut the Warriors' series lead to 2-1:
1. No Love, no problem.
Is it possible the Cavs are a better team without Kevin Love? Minus the All-Star power forward who missed Game 3 with a concussion, Cleveland dominated the Warriors thanks to superior shooting and rebounding throughout its starting lineup.
Kyrie Irving scored 16 first-quarter points to put Cleveland in control, J.R. Smith finally shot the way he's capable of shooting from the outside (20 points, five 3-pointers), Tristan Thompson was a rebounding machine, and UA alum Richard Jefferson came one point and two rebounds short of a double-double in Love's place in the starting lineup.
This may be Jefferson's 1st Finals start in 12 years and 359 days, but it doesn't show. https://t.co/idRA3yU61w
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 9, 2016
Interesting question: If Love is good to go in Game 4, should he start?
2. LeBron takes back control.
LeBron James was no slouch in Games 1 or 2, but he had his most dominant game of the series Wednesday, putting up 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. He connected on 14 of 26 field-goal attempts, including this absurd dunk in the third quarter.
OH MY ? https://t.co/93HvM0lPRo
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 9, 2016
LeBron's head is at the rim. Incredible. https://t.co/Sbfdct1AiK
— Chris Martin Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) June 9, 2016
3. Curry missing for most of the night.
Through the first two and a half quarters of Game 3, Stephen Curry was MIA. His stat line: two points, three fouls and four turnovers. Not what you'd expect from a man who averaged 30 points per game during the regular season.
By the time the reigning NBA MVP got going -- he scored 11 points in the final minutes of the third quarter -- it was too late: The Cavs had built a 20-point advantage. If Curry doesn't have a much larger impact much earlier in Game 4, we could be looking at a brand new series by the time the series shifts back to Oakland for Game 5.