Depending on how you see these finals, Game 3 was either a catastrophic meltdown by the Cavs or a heroic Warriors comeback for the ages. Either way, it was much better than we’d expected given the way the first two games played out. We won’t know until Friday night whether that was the Cavs’ best chance, but it certainly seems like it. It’s not a great sign when your two best players combine for 77 points and you still somehow manage to lose. Still, the Warriors have a chance at history (16–0 in the postseason!), and that should be enough to grab your attention. If not, here are a few other things to watch for that will make this potential sweep-capper compelling.
Can the Warriors make this the biggest finals blowout ever? In 2014, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat by a cumulative 70 points over five games, making it the most lopsided finals in history. For the Warriors to top that historic shellacking, they’ll need to win Game 4 by 25 points. No one should cheer for a blowout, but if things get start to get out of hand, at least you’ll have something to keep your attention.
Will LeBron James average a finals triple-double? Going into Game 4, LeBron is averaging 32 points, 10.3 assists, and 12.3 rebounds. You know he’s proud of this Westbrook-ian triple-double average—he mentioned it before Game 3—and if we get lucky, we might have a Ricky Davis situation on our hands:
What could Kevin Durant do to lose the finals MVP trophy? Durant is a lock for this award. He deserves it for his play, of course, as he’s averaging 34 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. (Hold up—LeBron for MVP! OK, probably not.) He also fulfills the necessary narrative criteria. Superstar finally wins a ring by playing the best ball of his life, redeeming both himself and the team he joined—trust us, the media eats that stuff up. There’s no way he doesn’t win … it’s hard to even think of any scenarios in which he somehow loses. He could buy a ticket and sit in the stands like a fan and still win MVP, even if he leaves early to beat the traffic. Which he might. Depends how things are going in the fourth. I-90 can be a parking lot on Fridays.
Pick a record you think will be broken. Here’s a list of NBA Finals records to keep your eye on. Durant, for example needs to score 43 to match Shaquille O’Neal for most points in a four-game finals series with 145. That’s a fun one, if only for the fact that you just know it would make Shaq pretty steamed. Actually, scratch that. Let’s see if we can get both teams to clear out and let JaVale McGee score the 139 points he needs to break the record—that would really push Shaq over the edge.
The Cavs could win! Seriously, it could happen. And if they do, the series shifts and the Warriors all of a sudden take hold of a familiar 3-1 lead. Wouldn’t that be zesty? It’s worth watching to see if it might happen.