OAKLAND, Calif., Sporting Alert – Defending champions Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will clash with Christmas Day matchup that is expected to be a thriller at Oracle Arena.
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Where to Catch Live
Live Streaming: ESPN3.com
Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega
The battle, which will be the third game of the Christmas Day fixtures, is a repeat of last year’s NBA Finals, and everyone has been waiting for it since the beginning of the season.
Both teams are expected to field strong line-ups, despite the Warriors still playing without starting forward Harrison Barnes, who continues to recover from a sprained ankle.
The Cavaliers (19-7), though, welcome back starting point guard Kyrie Irving, who made his season debut in a 108-86 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers last Sunday, after being out since Game 1 of the NBA Finals with a knee injury.
Irving’ minutes have been somewhat limited in his first two games back, but expect the All-Star guard to play more than his current season-high 19 minutes against the Warriors (27-1.
The last time Irving faced Golden State he delivered 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks, while playing 44 minutes of that opening game in the NBA Finals.
But as expected, this game is all poised to be a showdown between LeBron James and Stephen Curry — two of the leading candidates in the race for the MVP this term.
Curry enters this game leading Golden State and the league in scoring at 31.8 points per game, while shooting over 51-percent from the field and making 133 shots from 3-point range already this season for 44.8-percent.
“Our guys love these type of games,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. “It’s not an epic game. It’s a regular-season game.
“It should be entertaining. Obviously, a finals rematch with two of the best teams in the NBA going at it at prime time on Christmas Day.
” That’s enough to make it a very exciting game. But win or lose, it’s just another game on the column.”
Fellow guard and backcourt dangerman, Klay Thompson, who likes to step up in big games, comes in averaging 19.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.
Expect these two guards, the “Splash Brothers” to do the bulk of the scoring, but the role of energetic and talented forward, Draymond Green, who is averaging 14.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per contest, will be very important as well.
James, in the meantime, is having a very fruitful season so far as well, coming averaging 26.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.
Power forward Kevin Love, who is averaging 17.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, collected 23 points and 13 rebounds in his last outing against the New York Knicks and is confident of delivering another solid performance on Christmas Day.
CHRISTMAS DAY NBA GAMES
Pelicans (9-19, 3-13 Away) at Heat (16-11, 12-6 Home) @ 12:00 PM ET ESPN
Bulls (15-11, 4-6 Away) at Thunder (20-9, 13-3 Home) @ 2:30 PM ET ABC
Cavaliers (19-7, 6-6 Away) at Warriors (27-1, 13-0 Home) @ 5:00 PM ET ABC
Spurs (25-5, 9-5 Away) at Rockets (15-15, 9-7 Home) @ 8:00 PM ET ESPN
Clippers (16-13, 6-7 Away) at Lakers (5-24, 2-8 Home) @ 10:30 PM ET ESPN