Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) battles for a loose ball against Golden State Warriors guard Patrick McCaw (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. The Warriors won 99-92. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) battles for a loose ball against Golden State Warriors guard Patrick McCaw (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. The Warriors won 99-92. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Durant delivers on both ends, Warriors beat Cavaliers

Warriors 99 Cavaliers 92

OAKLAND, Calif. — LeBron James drove to the basket in the waning seconds and Kevin Durant swatted away any chance Cleveland had at a Christmas Day comeback.

Durant pumped his fist again and again, emphatically shook his head and pounded his chest in delight. It looked a lot like the dominant Durant from the NBA Finals six months ago.

Klay Thompson hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:33 left, Durant delivered on both ends of the floor, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Cavaliers 99-92 on Monday in a festive holiday rematch of the past three Finals.

“There’s just so much joy in the arena today because it’s Christmas and we all feed off of that,” Durant said.

Durant’s block against a driving James with 24.5 seconds left went out of bounds off James, who said he thought he was fouled on the play. Durant finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.

“He’s one of the leaders in shot blocks a game and obviously he had five tonight, so he’s been doing a heck of a job of first of all taking the individual matchup and protecting the rim, too,” James said.

Kevin Love had 31 points and a season-best 18 rebounds, while James contributed 20 points, six rebounds and six assists in a rivalry missing one key piece: Warriors star Stephen Curry, who missed his eighth straight game with a sprained right ankle.

Thompson scored 24 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. It was Golden State’s 12th win in 13 games after its 11-game winning streak was snapped by Denver on Saturday night.

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell travelled with 2:13 left and James tied it. Bell made up for that mistake with a key offensive rebound and pass to Thompson for his fourth 3.

James’ 3-pointer with 10:39 left pulled Cleveland within one, but Green answered with a 3 and Andre Iguodala scored two of his nine points the next time down. In another key sequence, Durant blocked Tristan Thompson’s shot with 6:23 to go and dunked moments later.

No surprise, the up-tempo, running rivals provided high entertainment once again. The Warriors last June captured a second championship in three years against James and the Cavaliers.

“I forgot all about it,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said with a chuckle.

The teams will see each other again soon, playing Jan. 15 in Cleveland.

KD requested James for his defensive assignment, to which he explained simply, “I just like guarding my position.”

The Cavs, having won six of seven and playing for the first time since Thursday, had their run of scoring at least 100 points end at 26 games.

The Warriors were at nearly full strength again aside from Curry, who could return this week once he goes through some scrimmages at practice.

Centre Zaza Pachulia was available but didn’t play after sitting out seven consecutive games, while Shaun Livingston came back after missing four games with a sore right knee.

Bell — who addressed the sellout crowd at midcourt moments before tipoff — started at centre and had eight points and six rebounds.

SHOOTING WOES

The Cavs’ 31.8-per cent shooting was the lowest by a Warriors opponent in nearly four years, since Charlotte shot 31.2 per cent from the field on Feb. 4, 2014.

“We just didn’t make shots,” Lue said.

A REAL RIVALRY

Sure, this one felt a little strange without Curry or Kyrie Irving, now in Boston.

“Golden State-Cavaliers, that’s a big game, no matter who’s playing, who’s out,” Lue said.

“It will be weird, without Steph, without Ky, especially the battles we’ve had over the last three years. So both teams look different.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr knows just the uniforms are enough to get everybody going — and this marked the third straight Christmas matchup between the franchises, alternating home floors based on who won the title.

“It’s always great to play the Cavs, they’re an awesome team,” Kerr said. “LeBron is so amazing and it’s so fun to feel the energy in the building when the two teams get together. Neither team will look the same as we will even a month from now because Steph and Isaiah Thomas both should be back, hopefully they’ll both be back. … But it doesn’t even matter sometimes, just the two uniforms in the same building gets people going.”

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Lue isn’t yet ready to guess when Thomas will return following his right hip injury. “He is progressing very well,” Lue said. “The most important thing is that he is getting to practice and playing 5-on-5 and having a chance to experience feeling well after it and not having soreness.” … Cleveland is 19-3 since Nov. 11, including 8-3 on the road.

Warriors: Durant averaged 32 points over his seven previous Christmas Day games. … Golden State played its fifth consecutive Christmas game and seventh in eight. … The Warriors were 10 of 37 on 3s after they went a dismal 3 for 27 from 3-point range in losing to the Nuggets. … Kerr began his pregame session by thanking all of the arena staff and Golden State employees for their service and for working on the holiday. … Thompson’s holiday sneakers might have stood out most: neon green on the left foot, neon pink on the right.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: Visit Kings on Wednesday as they play the middle contest of a three-game West trip.

Warriors: Host Utah on Wednesday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta had 1,571 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta’s central zone now has 1,101 active COVID-19 cases

Provincial death toll has risen by nine

Dustin Mitchell (Coats) is wanted by police in relation to a homicide this past Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Red Deer RCMP)
Red Deer RCMP looking for man in relation to homicide

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Red Deer man in… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 in Ottawa. Poilievre says building up the Canadian economy post-pandemic can't be achieved without a massive overhaul of the tax system and regulatory regime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservatives attack Trudeau’s ‘reset’ but they have ideas for their own

‘We don’t need subsidized corporate welfare schemes that rely on endless bailouts from the taxpayer’

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Moderna chairman says Canada near head of line for 20 million vaccine doses

Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton, Ont., linked to systemic factors, experts say

‘We’re tired. We’re numb. We’re overworked. We’re frustrated, because it’s not our rules’

The courthouse in Iqaluit is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Three Nunavut judges, including the chief justice, are at odds over whether prison conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should be considered when sentencing offenders in the territory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Nunavut judges disagree on how to sentence offenders during pandemic

IQALUIT — Three Nunavut judges, including the territory’s chief justice, are at… Continue reading

A corrections officer opens the door to a cell in the segregation unit at the federal Fraser Valley Institution for Women during a media tour, in Abbotsford, B.C., Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Few federal inmates moved from solitary after external reviews, new data show

‘There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate’

A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘I’ve been spared a lot,’ van attack survivor says as she watches trial alone

Court has set up a private room for victims and families of those killed in the Toronto van attack

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Most Read