THE Cleveland Cavaliers had a win in their grasp and watched it fade away ... but don't blame LeBron James.

In a game of incredible numbers, James' plus-minus was the most intriguing of the pack: he was a plus-seven in his 46 minutes on the court. Put simply, that means the Cavaliers outscored the Warriors by seven points with James on the floor.

The Cavaliers suffered a 118-113 defeat in game three of the NBA Finals - a five-point loss - and it's demonstrable that a lot of the damage came with James off the court.

James is arguably the best player on the planet, and no one has ever doubted the unmatchable impact he has for the Cavs squad, but this stat shows just how effective he was.

To put it into perspective, Kyrie Irving was a minus-nine in his 44 minutes of action, while Kevin Love was minus-11 in 37 minutes.

Thinking back to the fact that the Warriors ended the game on an 11-0 run, James would have been on plus-18 with three minutes remaining in game three.

James finished the game with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists while shooting 15-for-27 from the field, proving that he remains one of the game's most dominant players in its history.

The Cavaliers will play for their post-season hopes on Saturday (AEST), when they face the Warriors in game four of the finals.

News Corp Australia


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