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You can’t spell ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’ without 3 Ls

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2018 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Warriors won Game 3 over the Cavaliers to take a 3-0 lead in the 2018 NBA Finals. This thing could be over on Friday, or — as they did a year ago — the Cavaliers could force a gentleman’s sweep back in Oakland on Monday. (Of course, last year Cleveland had Kyrie Irving, who dropped 40 in Game 4. The Cavs’ starting point guard isn’t dropping 40 in the next two games combined.)

The story of Game 3 was what Kevin Durant did all night. With the Splash Brothers struggling all night — Steph Curry went 3-of-16, probably costing himself the Finals MVP — Durant feasted in the mid-range, found cutters, and finished the game stroking smooth Js from long-range. He even had a dagger three eerily similar to one he hit in Game 3 last year.

As Paul Flannery wrote before the game, there are the Curry Warriors and the Durant Warriors. Both are too much for the Cavaliers. So while LeBron James passes to himself off the backboard and Dan Gilbert tweets about the refs and Rodney Hood (!) goes off, it doesn’t matter. The Warriors are just substantially better.

The Rockets almost knocked them off. Maybe they, or someone, can do it next year. But these Cavs? Noooope. It’s not happening without monumental core changes.

More like Deandre Aysun?

Deandre Ayton had his workout and meeting with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. He declared that will be his only workout in the run-up to the 2018 NBA Draft (which is June 21). That certainty, plus Suns GM Ryan McDonough gushing praise of Ayton’s impact, indicates the question over who will be the No. 1 pick is settled.

Matt Ellentuck throws some cold water on that assertion: this sort of posing around workout schedules is fairly common. Ayton wants to be No. 1 (it’s a huge point of pride and slightly more money) and he likes Phoenix. The real question is whether the Suns can get Luka Doncic in for a workout, and whether Phoenix tries to bring in Jaren Jackson and/or Marvin Bagley.

We shouldn’t be looking to Ayton for signs: we should be watching the Suns.

Links Galore

Paul Flannery on Kevin Durant solving every Warriors problem in Game 3.

Poignant Zito Madu piece on the added pain of J.R. Smith’s Game 1 gaffe: he disappointed his biggest believer, LeBron.

The only Finals drama left: will Durant or Curry win Finals MVP?

The Nuggets revealed all new branding and uniforms. They are completely anodyne. It’s frankly kind of sad given the Nuggets’ proud history of absolutely cuckoo and brilliant designs.

Jackie MacMullan talked to Curry and Klay Thompson about their childhood nemeses and how they overcame them.

More on the Lynx’ awesome D.C. championship celebration in lieu of a White House visit: giving shoes to schoolchildren in need.

Oh, boy: the Sixers apparently believe Bryan Colangelo that he had no knowledge of the burner accounts or what was said on them. Now maybe this is true. Maybe Colangelo didn’t know. That doesn’t change the reality of the situation: he shared inside info with his wife, she actively put it into the public sphere, and two very important Sixers (Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz) have reason to be angry. This is a worrying pretext for keeping Colangelo.

Congratulations to John Beilein for using an interview with the Pistons to get more money out of the University of Michigan.

I was skeptical of the referees’ union’s plan to tweet through the game. It was ... fine. Good work, refs’ union.

Kevin Pelton ranks the top 50 individual postseason runs in modern NBA history and 1991 Jordan is on top.

This Sam Amick Q&A with Kevin Durant is really darn interesting. It’s always hard to know how seriously to take Durant in these things, because it’s hard to know how seriously to take any NBA superstar. But the answer about the question about LeBron taking a meeting with the Warriors this summer feels like a little nugget of HMMM ... you almost wonder if LeBron is interested in going through with a meeting just to alienate Durant a little, especially considering Durant is a free agent. If the Warriors meet with LeBron — and knowing there’s likely no way they could sign him without trading another star or not re-signing Durant — will KD go meet with other teams? I think we just hatched a plot to break up the Warriors!

Sterling Brown’s attorneys got some additional footage of the his arrest that appears at first glance to bolster Brown’s case that police used excessive force. The town council is launching an investigation into why they didn’t see this footage before.

Apparently Alonzo Mourning wouldn’t talk to Vince Carter for years after a particularly nasty poster dunk.

And finally: Chris Ballard on Dennis Rodman’s impossibly complicated legacy.

Be excellent to each other.