Warriors top Cavs in Christmas Day marquee matchup


The middle of 5 NBA games on this Christmas Day saw the biggest game of the season so far- a rematch of last years’ NBA Finals, won by Golden State. About a third of the way through a historic Warriors season, Steph Curry looked to defend the home court and defeat LeBron once more. This was a game with intrigue all around.

The game also featured a matchup of the two best players in the world, both of whom would have an impact on the outcome of this game.

To see recaps of the early Christmas Day games click here and here.

The Warriors had several shots rim-out early on and trailed 12-11, with shaky play by both teams. By the end of the first quarter the shots were starting to fall. The Warriors went on a 15-3 run and led 28-19 to close the quarter, with Cleveland having success with the inside play of Timofey Mozgov, LeBron James and Kevin Love.

Late in the first quarter Steph Curry twisted his ankle and went back to the locker room while Warriors fans held their breath. Meanwhile, the Cavs closed the lead and tie the game at 33. The Warriors had no answer for LeBron James, who repeatedly posted up smaller defenders. A few minutes later, Curry returned with his ankles re-taped (and the TV broadcasters talking about it like it was the return of Christ or something).

Kyrie Irving had some impressive moments in his return after missing 24 games, while J.R Smith had a not-so-impressive 3 fouls in 12 minutes.

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The teams played close to even for the next few minutes before closing the half at 45-42 in favor of the Warriors in a surprisingly slow game for the team. It was tied for their lowest scoring first-half of the season.

Play continued with more of the same in the second half. The third quarter closed with the Warriors still in control, leading 64-59 headed to the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter began with a hard foul on Shaun Livingston grabbing Tristan Thompson. The play was originally called a flagrant foul (which I was ready to scream about) before replay helped the refs reverse the call. Livingston played well covering for Curry early and scored 16 points off of the Golden State bench.

The teams continued to play physical basketball deep into the game and the refs let the teams play that way. LeBron James got a blocked shot on a breakaway trackdown of Ian Clark of the Warriors. Later, Iman Shumphert clobbered Steph Curry while trying to block his shot. With 4 minutes to go the Warriors led by 6, 77-71.

In crunch time James dominated on the block, getting monster dunks on two straight possessions to bring the Cavs closer. Unfortunately he followed that up with two straight missed free-throws with two minutes to go, while Steph Curry sliced through to the rim for two easy layups.

A LeBron airball with 12.7 to play sealed the deal for the Warriors. Predictably they held on, winning 89-83 over the Cavs to improve to 28-1 and enjoy a great Christmas Day at home in Oakland.

Stephen Curry finished his injury-plagued game with 19 points and 7 assists for the Warriors. LeBron James had 25 dominating points, for the Cavaliers in Christmas-Day defeat.