NBA: Cavaliers edge out Warriors 96-91 in Game 3 to take 2-1 lead in Finals series

CLEVELAND (REUTERS) - LeBron James turned in another virtuoso play-off performance in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a thrilling 96-91 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven National Basketball Association Finals.

James had a game-high 40 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists in front of a raucous crowd of red T-shirt-clad fans, as Cleveland grabbed the upper hand in the championship series against the top-seeded Warriors.

Cleveland led by as many as 20 points late in the third quarter but were put to the test as Golden State clawed back to within a point with under three minutes remaining.

The league's reigning Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry had a horrible start to the game for Golden State but had a strong fourth quarter to finish with a team-high 27 points.