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

Nineteen-year-old Amanda enjoys a ride during a visit to Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. photo submitted
Busy days at Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler

The ranch, which launched operations last summer, provides support through animal interaction

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer at the announcement that the city will be getting a drug treatment court Thursday. Jason Luan, associate minister of mental health and addictions, looks on.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Veer concerned about rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

The City of Red Deer is reminding citizens to protect themselves against… Continue reading

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed starting Monday, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announced Thursday. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Alberta gov’t aims to protect health-care sector from COVID-19 liability

The Alberta government has proposed a new legislation that will protect those… Continue reading

After considerable consultation with student representatives, Red Deer College has
made the difficult decision to increase tuition and fees for the 2021/2022 academic year. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer College to celebrate grads virtually in June

Graduates of Red Deer College won’t get an in-person graduation ceremony this… Continue reading

Curtis Labelle (second from left) and his band are planning a cross-Canada tour in 2022. Meanwhile, Labelle is continuing to host his weekly livestreamed talk show, Chattin 88. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer rock pianist takes on a talk show role

Curtis Labelle’s Chattin 88 gets views from around the globe

Inter Pipeline's Heartland Petrochemical Complex in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. is shown in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Inter Pipeline *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Hostile takeover target Inter Pipeline reports 60% of Heartland plant is contracted

Hostile takeover target Inter Pipeline reports 60% of Heartland plant is contracted

Smoke pours from the stacks at the Portlands Energy Centre in Toronto on Thursday January 15, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Risk experts say climate change to take big chunk of Canadian economy by 2050

Risk experts say climate change to take big chunk of Canadian economy by 2050

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Rode
Volunteering played major role in RDC awards

Under normal circumstances the RDC Red Deer Bottling Athlete of the Year… Continue reading

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators, from being sued over COVID-19 unless it was for gross negligence

In this Nov. 5, 2004 file photo, the logo of Kansas City Southern is down on a restored 1954 Kansas City Southern passenger locomotive at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Norman Ng/The Kansas City Star via AP
War of words heats up in battle between Canadian railways for Kansas City’s KCS

War of words heats up in battle between Canadian railways for Kansas City’s KCS

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
North American stock markets fall on report of near doubling of U.S. capital gains

North American stock markets fall on report of near doubling of U.S. capital gains

FILE - In this Friday, April 22, 2016 file photo, Argentine writer Mariana Enriquez poses for a portrait in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Books from Europe and Latin America that blur the boundaries of fiction, history and memoir are the final six contenders for the 50,000 pound ($69,000) International Booker Prize. On the shortlist is imaginative short-story collection “The Dangers of Smoking in Bed” by Argentina’s Mariana Enriquez. (AP Photo/Leandro Teysseire, File)
Inventive books make final 6 for International Booker Prize

Inventive books make final 6 for International Booker Prize

Most Read