Irving sinks Warriors in Christmas day matchup, 109-108

Tricia Pearson
December 26, 2016

The Cleveland Cavaliers carried a four-game winning streak into their Christmas Day rematch of the NBA Finals. The James-Warriors dynamic is why the team was so relentless and persuasive last summer in their pursuit of Durant.

With the Cavaliers able to tie the game late, it was James that gave the team the lead and a chance to win the game.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is excited to see how his team responds later on Sunday.

But there was still enough time for the Warriors - 3.4 seconds left.

He also has been held in check by Cleveland in ways that will loom large should these teams clash in a third consecutive Finals. BUZZER BEATERS1. Warriors PF Draymond Green is shooting 30.4 percent from the field in his last five games but recorded three double-doubles (two assists-rebounds, one points-rebounds) and a triple-double in that span. 2.

As a team, the Warriors coughed the ball up 20 times, resulting in 21 points for the Cavaliers.

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Coates hasn't lived up to expectations, but he did have a kick off return for 44 yards last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tomlin walked around the locker room prior to practice and talked to individuals about a crisp, clean, smart practice.

The two "small" forwards may be the two best players of their era - though Stephen Curry has to be in the conversation - but Durant lags behind James in most every area.

The Celtics have the second-highest assist percentage in the National Basketball Association behind the Warriors, and the Knicks will have their hands full with a much younger, livelier Celtics roster.

In this simulation, the Warriors were led by the offseason addition of Kevin Durant. That's something he will have to figure out before they meet again. Warriors players have made one thing clear this week: The games against Cleveland that matter will come in June, not Sunday or the regular-season return leg in Oakland on January 16. There was no travel or foul called, so, with a few tenths of a second left, Durant tried a baseball pass toward the rim for what we suppose would've won the game on a 3-pointer, but it failed.

We've established his role on the final play of the game.

In San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge hit his first 11 shots from the floor en route to a season-high 33 points in the Spurs' 119-100 victory over the Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers are an Eastern Conference-leading 22-6 following their ninth win in 10 games. Then they get to end their night with the Battle of Los Angeles at Staples Center as D'Angelo Russell and the Baby Lakers take on the Clippers.

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