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Thursday October 17th, 2019 1:51PM

The Latest: Cleveland's Smith off to good start in Game 3

By The Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on Game 3 of the NBA Finals (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

J.R. Smith reporting for duty in the NBA Finals.

After hitting his first shot of Game 1, the Cavaliers sharpshooter had not made a shot in only five attempts over the next 95 minutes of game action. But Smith has shown up early in Game 3 Wednesday night, hitting his first two 3-pointers to help the Cavaliers take an early 21-19 lead in the first quarter.

LeBron James is off to a fast start as well, which is nothing new. He has 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting. James was shaken up when teammate Tristan Thompson inadvertently hit him with a shoulder to the chest, but hopped up and didn't miss any action after the collision.

Kevin Durant has hit his first three shots, including two 3s, for the Warriors.

___

9:10 p.m.

Game 3 of the NBA Finals is underway and there are no surprises.

Despite speculation that the Cleveland Cavaliers could make some changes to their starting lineup after two straight wipeouts in the Bay Area, coach Tyronn Lue stuck with the same five — LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith on Wednesday night.

Lue declared on Tuesday that he wasn't making any changes to his lineup, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr quipped before the game that he wouldn't be surprised if his counterpart wasn't being completely honest with the media.

The Warriors, of course, are making no changes to the machine that has reeled off 14 straight wins in these playoffs. It's Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia.

Prior to the game, the NBA held a moment of silence for vice president of broadcasting Todd Harris, who died on Tuesday at the age of 47.

___

8:45 p.m.

There hasn't been a Rihanna sighting at Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

But there are a few celebrities in the building, including Usher and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Golfers Bubba Watson and Jason Day were also among the celebs mingling courtside before Wednesday night's matchup. They posed for several photographs with Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, who is from nearby Ashtabula and has attended Cavs games in the past.

When the Warriors arrived, Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr were greeted at the security checkpoint by former pro wrestler Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair.

But actor Michael Rapaport, a die-hard Warriors, may have made the biggest impression on Cavs' fans. He came in carrying a broom and exchanged some words with one fan who wasn't happy about his brash gesture.

___

8:25

Having already shoved aside the Showtime Lakers, Stephen Curry the Golden State Warriors are trying to move past one of hockey's powerhouses.

A victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals would be the Warriors' 15th straight in the postseason and give them the longest winning streak in the major professional sports.

Golden State is currently tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won 14 straight across the 1992-93 Stanley Cup playoffs, according to information provided to the Warriors by Elias.

The previous NBA record of 13 straight wins had been set by Los Angeles in 1988-89 and matched by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016-17.

A victory would also be the Warriors' 30th in their last 31 games, dating to the regular season. Five NBA teams didn't win 30 games all season.

___

8:05 p.m.

Cleveland's Kyle Korver doesn't mind long shots. Long breaks are another matter.

Playing in his first NBA Finals, the Cavaliers' sharpshooter has struggled with his shot through the first two games, going 2 of 7 from the field — 1 of 6 3-pointers. Korver's struggles have contributed to the Cavs being down 2-0 to the Golden State Warriors, who are keeping a close eye on the 14-year veteran whenever he's on the floor.

Korver, who was traded to the Cavs from Atlanta in January, says the break following the Eastern Conference finals has affected his timing.

"For me personally we've had these long breaks in between series and I haven't been very good in any series in Game 1 and 2 as far as making shots," he said before Wednesday night's Game 3. "You know, it's a rhythm thing. I'm hoping as the series goes on for me, get some more looks and be able knock 'em down."

___

7:40 p.m.

Golden State is playing to be No. 1 this season.

The Warriors also have a chance to be No. 2 in ANY season.

If Golden State wins these NBA Finals over Cleveland in four or five games, the Warriors — 81-15 this season going into Wednesday night — would finish with the second-best single-season winning percentage in league history (including all games, regular season and playoffs).

Chicago's 87-13 mark in the 1995-96 season cannot be topped this year.

For now, the No. 2 record is owned by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who went 81-16.

Last year's Warriors had the best regular-season record ever, 73-9. They then went 15-9 in the playoffs, and their 88-18 total-season record wound up fourth-best in league history coming into this season.

___

7:15 p.m.

Basketball season. Football weather.

Cavaliers' fans swapped T-shirts and shorts for long sleeves and sweat shirts as unusually cool spring weather had Cleveland feeling fall-like on Wednesday night hours before Game 3 of the NBA Finals. But despite the chilly weather, Clevelanders were fired up to see if the Cavs can climb back into the series after losing Games 1 and 2 on the road to Golden State by a combined 41 points.

Cleveland was in the same spot a year ago, but that was before the Warriors added Kevin Durant to a 73-win team.

Bars and restaurants were overflowing with patrons along East Fourth Street about three basketball courts distance away from Quicken Loans Arena, which will be filled with 20,000 screaming fans looking for the Cavs to take their first step toward another comeback.

Security was extremely tight outside the arena as fans were required to pass through metal detectors in order to take part in events on the plaza between the Q and Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians. Once inside, some fans launched jump shots on outdoor courts while others positioned themselves for prime seats to watch the game on a giant screen.

___

More AP NBA: apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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