NBA Finals 2015 - Game 3: LeBron James scores 40 as Cleveland Cavaliers take series lead over the Golden State Warriors

Cleveland Cavaliers 96 Golden State Warriors 91

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The Independent Online

LeBron James scored 40 points as the injury-hit Cleveland Cavaliers took a surprise 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals with a 96-91 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

James, who is without star team-mates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for the series, also had 12 rebounds and eight assists in a game where Cleveland led by as many as 20 before the Warriors –favourites heading into the Finals – cut the lead to just a single point with a couple of minutes left.

League MVP Stephen Curry finished with 27 points for the Warriors, but struggled until the final quarter when he almost inspired his team to a win with 17 points and some jaw-dropping shots.

The star was again hounded by Cleveland’s unheralded Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova, who put in a brilliant defensive display that ended with him being hospitalised on an IV with severe cramps. Delly, as he’s affectionately known, added 20 points for the Cavs.

James now has 123 points in the first three games (41ppg) a new record for the NBA Finals. "I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to help our team win," said the four-time MVP, who hit two late free-throws to put the game out of sight. "It's the finals, and it's whatever it takes. This is a totally different challenge."

Curry, who also struggled with a career-worst performance in Game 2, believes that his impressive fourth quarter has lifted him out of his slump. "I found something when it comes to how I'm going to be able to attack their pick-and-rolls," he said. "I'll keep that in the memory bank going into Game 4."

Cleveland, hoping to end a 51-year wait for a national title in professional sports, now sit two wins away from the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Game 4 takes place in the early hours of Friday morning.