The NBA Finals: 24 calls and non-calls that went the Cavs’ way the third quarter of Game 3

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) bounces the ball in frustration in the third quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, June 7, 2015. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

-Or- if Mike Breen loves Australia so much, maybe he should move there.

By Andrew Pridgen

The 2015 NBA Finals game three in attention-starved Cleveland—where they used 2 million BIC lighters to make it look like the city had non-vacant buildings and moving cars on the blimp cutaways—was all about four things:

  1. LeBron James: Because LeBron James battling through more adversity than me in an arcade with no quarters in ’86 = big ratings.
  2. ESPN’s Mike Breen wanting to go Down Under on Matthew Dellavedova.
  3. Cold, then luke-warm, then hot (8 of his last 11) Steph Curry.
  4. The third quarter.

Below, a possession-by-possession recount of the third period. The Warriors went down by 20 before opening the fourth with eight straight thanks to reserves Andre Iguodala, Leandro Barbosa and David Lee.

More on what the emergence of Lee, who hadn’t played in the first two games of these finals, does ported in a moment.

Calls or non-calls that went the Cavs’ way the third quarter:

  1. 11:28 LeBron does his signature old-guy-without-walker shuffle at the top of the key, gets assist.
  2. 11:22 LeBron travels, scores lay in.
  3. 10:33 LeBron pushes off, passes to Dellavedova. Dellavedova good for three at the top of the key.
  4. 9:55 Warriors timeout. Breen says Dellavedova is “Feeling himself. Feeling himself.”
  5. 9:11 LeBron throws a bunch of elbows and pretends to trip over Draymond Green. Green called for the foul.
  6. 8:56 The LeBron Shuffle, (again, not necessarily a travel but not necessarily not a travel) bricks a three.
  7. 8:41 Draymond Green called for offensive foul. Only the guy in the line in front of you at concessions knows why.
  8. 8:25 LeBron pushes off, makes 20-foot fadeaway.
  9. 7:42 LeBron picks up his pivot foot, misses 30 foot fadeaway.
  10. 6:36 LeBron picks up pivot foot, lowers his shoulder, passes to Dellavedova at top of the key. Dellavedova good for three.
  11. 5:59 Lebron carries, passes to Smith. Smith turns it over.
  12. 5:40 Lebron carries, sets up for three on the left wing. Good.
  13. 5:28 Green fouled by Timofey Mosgov (arm-to-face) no call. Turnover. Cavs’ ball.
  14. 5:07 LeBron puts shoulder down, travels in the lane and pushes off with elbow to create space. Hits fadeaway at the free-throw line.
  15. 4:29 LeBron straddles halfcourt line and commits backcourt violation, misses three.
  16. 3:27 LeBron carries and passes to JR Smith. Smith good for three.
  17. 3:13 LeBron goaltends Klay Thompson lay in. No call.
  18. 2:50 LeBron takes eight steps down the lane, lowers shoulder—dish to Mosgov. Cleveland up 20.
  19. 2:17 Dellavedova flies into third row, praised for being the “Rudy” Ruettiger of this year’s NBA playoffs by his boyfriend Mike Breen who’s frenetically swiping to find the Aussie on Tinder.
  20. 2:02 LeBron walks and falls out of bounds because someone (Thompson) is finally putting a body on him. Cavs ball.
  21. 1:41 LeBron pulls Steph Curry’s jersey on the defensive end, gets in transition and hits 10 foot fadeaway in the lane.
  22. :42.4 LeBron misses 25 footer, Shaun Livingston called for phantom foul. LeBron makes both.
  23. :23 Lebron fouls Festus Ezeli underneath. No call.
  24. Time expires Curry makes open lay in. Basket waived off.

Calls in the third that went the Warriors’ way:

  1. 1:15 Curry draws a charge.

So, what happened in the fourth quarter? The refs let both teams play basketball (including LeBron’s Dhalsim-inspired slide-tackle into Curry at the top of the key resulting in a no-call and a Warriors turnover).

Cleveland got quiet. The Warriors outscored the Cavs 36-24 and All-Star forward David Lee was reanimated with a putback dunk early in the fourth. He would go 4-4 from the floor in 13 minutes with 11 points and four boards, plus some nice iso D on the King. Look for Kerr to sub Lee in more than avocado in game four.

LeBron and the swing shift crew from the Akron Krispy Kreme ended up with the W (96-91) and Bron said Dellavedova was “made of steel” in the post-game step-up-to-the-mic with Doris ….which will be more than enough fodder to get Mike Breen through the night without having to order up Thunder from Down Under on the PPV in his Key Center Marriott digs.