CLEVELAND, June 8 (Reuters) - A sluggish start to Game Three cost the Golden State Warriors a chance to move within a win of a second consecutive NBA title and could ultimately prove to be the turning point in their Finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers raced out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes of Wednesday's encounter and went on to enjoy a comfortable 120-90 wire-to-wire win that cut their deficit in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.
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"They came out and played like a team with a sense of desperation, like their season was on the line. And we came out and played like everything was peaches and cream," Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters.
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"We got bullied. We can't get bullied, so that falls on me."
Since no team in NBA history has ever recovered from an 3-0 series deficit to win in seven games, the Warriors were fully expecting a desperate Cavaliers team to come out hard at home in a game they had to win.
Golden State, who had their lowest scoring game of the NBA playoffs, essentially were unable to create much offense against a Cavs team that was vastly improved from the squad that were embarrassed during the first two games of the Finals in Oakland.
Much of that lack of offensive power was due to a misfiring Stephen Curry, who did not register a point until late in the second quarter when the league MVP hit a 10-foot bank shot.
"They were playing aggressive defense and they came out with a big punch," Curry said.
"I didn't do anything about it or play my game, and for me to do what I need to do to help my team, I have to play a hundred times better than that, especially in the first quarter, to kind of control the game, and I didn't do it.
"We've been in situations like these before where you have a night that just doesn't go your way from start to finish, and for us, we've been able to bounce back pretty quick because we can turn the page and understand.
"Like I said, we're still in a good position."
After setting an NBA record with a 73 wins during the 82-game regular season, the Warriors will not allow themselves to get rattled by a single loss.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who was held to 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, said his team's latest loss boiled down to a lack of energy.
"I think most of it's just energy, just matching that team's energy. They were hungrier than us tonight. There's no excuse for us. But that's all it is," Thompson said.
"I know we're not going to make every shot, obviously. We're going to have bad turnovers. But if we play with great energy and effort, we won't see another 30-point loss like this."
Game Four is in Cleveland on Friday.
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