Cleveland (19-7) at Golden State (27-1)
When: Friday, December 25th 2015
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Time: 5:05 ET | TV: ABC
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will meet for the first time since last year’s NBA Finals in which the Warriors took in six games. Since then, Golden State has only lost one game and will bring a 31-game regular season home winning streak into this Christmas Day matchup. The Warriors don’t seem to be caught up in the hype that this game is bringing. “Our players are great about staying present and staying in the moment and taking the next game ahead of them,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton told reporters. “Honestly, I haven’t heard a single thing (about the Cleveland game) from any of them.” Golden State lost their only game on December 12th in Milwaukee. It was the last game of a long road trip and the nigh after an overtime win in Boston. Guard Klay Thompson has been on fire since coming back from an injury scoring 20 or more points in eight of his last nine games to bring his season average up to 19.3. Forward Harrison Barnes is still nursing an injured knee and is not expected to play Friday. Superstar Steph Curry was held to a season-low 16 points on Wednesday in Golden State’s 103-85 win over Utah. The Warriors will wrap up their five-game homestand against Sacramento on Monday.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers will look a little different then they did in June when LeBron James tried to carry this team on his back. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were both injured in last year’s playoffs and didn’t compete in the Finals. James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.7 assists in the series, but it wasn’t enough. The Cavaliers bring a six-game winning streak into today’s game in which they’ve held their opponents to just 87.2 points per game. Love is coming off a 23-point 13-rebound game in Cleveland’s 91-84 win over the Knicks on Wednesday. Matthew Dellavedova, last year’s Finals darling, dished out 7 assists in 30 minutes off the bench and is still a key contributor to this deep Cavaliers team. Cleveland will begin a rough stretch of four games in five nights when they visit Golden State on Christmas Day. The Cavs are just 6-6 on the road this season, but did win Game 2 in the Finals last year at Golden State.
I think LeBron and Cleveland want this win badly, and they’re playing well enough on defense lately to do that. Look for Love to have a big game and for Cleveland to keep it close all the way through.
Pick: Cavaliers +7