Cool-Shooting Cavs Fall on Christmas in Oakland

Cavs Can't Get Big Late Bucket as Dubs Get Defensive
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Wrap-Up -- The Warriors get so much (well-deserved) credit for being a high-powered offensive team that people sometimes forget how deadly they are on the defensive end.

The Wine & Gold got that reminder on Christmas Day – as Golden State shut down a Cavaliers squad that had topped the century mark in 26 straight games, holding Cleveland to 32 percent shooting and hanging on for the 99-92 win at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors are the league’s top shot-blocking team and Kevin Durant is the West’s top shot-blocker – and last year’s Finals MVP got the biggest of his five swats in the closing moments – touching up LeBron James’ short jumper with 26.5 to play with Cleveland trailing by three, 95-92.

Klay Thompson was intentionally fouled following James’ shot attempt and the Wine & Gold wouldn’t score again.

All of the positives that propelled the Cavaliers to the East’s best mark over the past six weeks were missing in the perennial Christmas Day matchup. Cleveland’s bench, which had been averaging over 40 points per contest, combined for only 21 points. As a team, their 32 percent shooting was a season-low and they handed out just 12 assists compared to 14 turnovers.

Despite the ugly numbers, the Cavaliers were in it the entire way – leading throughout almost the entire first half and staying within a possession or two the rest of the way.

Neither team led by double-digits at any point during the afternoon, with the Warriors taking their biggest lead – 90-81 – with just over five minutes to play. But Kevin Love stopped the bleeding with his sixth triple of the night and, with just under two minutes remaining, the Cavs knotted the score at 92-apiece on LeBron’s six-foot runner.

That’s as good as it’d get for the Wine & Gold, however, with Klay Thompson scoring the game’s final seven points – hitting a three-pointer to untie the affair and drilling four straight free throws to seal the deal.

Love had one of his best all-around games of the season – leading both squads with 31 points on 9-for-25 shooting, including 6-for-11 from long-range and 7-of-7 from the stripe, adding a season-high 18 rebounds and a pair of steals in the loss.

LeBron never found his holiday mojo on Monday afternoon at Oracle Arena – finishing with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting, adding six boards and a team-high six helpers. Emblematic of Cleveland’s struggles, James had one more turnover than rebounds or assists.

Jae Crowder was solid throughout – chipping in with 15 points and six boards, going 5-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc while attempting to check Kevin Durant for most of the afternoon.

Dwyane Wade – the winningest player in league history on Christmas Day – saw his all-time mark slip to 10-3, finishing with 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting, adding five boards and four assists.

LeBron James


KLove and LBJ combine for 51 points and 24 rebounds as the Cavs fall short in Oakland.

Durant led the Warriors with 25 points, going 8-for-19 from the floor, adding seven boards, three assists, two steals and a game-high five blocks. Klay Thompson followed up with 24 points, going 4-of-7 from deep, and Draymond Green joined LeBron James as one of just seven players to notch a triple-double on Christmas Day – netting 12 points, 12 boards and 11 assists in the win.

As a team, the Warriors shot 46 percent from the floor – doing major damage in the paint, where they outscored Cleveland, 44-20, and on the break, where they outran the Cavaliers, 33-9.

Turning Point -- Although there were myriad turning points down the stretch on Christmas Day, the game actually changed momentum late in the second quarter.

The Wine & Gold were in control through the first quarter and into the second, but the Warriors found their footing as halftime approached. After erasing Cleveland’s five-point edge earlier in the period, Golden State completed an 18-8 run that put the Dubs up, 44-39, with just under two minutes to play in the half.

The Cavaliers didn’t lead by more than a single point the rest of the way.

By the Numbers321, 82, 13 … points, assists and three-pointers made by LeBron James in Christmas Day games – the NBA’s active leader in all-three categories.

QuotableLeBron James, on Cleveland’s Christmas Day loss in Oakland …

”They kicked our butts in transition. That was basically the tell-tale sign for us in the loss. Obviously, everyone will look at that offensive rebound by Jordan Bell and the kick out to Klay Thompson for three – but they kicked our butts in transition.”

Up Next -- With the highly-anticipated Christmas Day game out of the way, the Wine & Gold will stay out west to wrap up their three-game trip – traveling to Sacramento for a matchup with the Kings on Wednesday followed by a Saturday night showdown against the Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Cavaliers return home – briefly – welcoming the Blazers to town on January 2 before departing on a five-game, 10-day trip that sends Tyronn Lue’s squad to Boston, Orlando, Minnesota, Toronto and Indiana.

Calls of the Game

#CavsWarriors Postgame: Kevin Love - December 25, 2017

Cavaliers forward/center Kevin Love spoke with the media following Monday's loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

Cavs at Warriors - December 25, 2017

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#CavsWarriors Postgame: Kevin Love - December 25, 2017

Cavaliers forward/center Kevin Love spoke with the media following Monday's loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Dec 25, 2017  |  03:57

#CavsWarriors Postgame: LeBron James - December 25, 2017

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Monday's loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Dec 25, 2017  |  05:08

#CavsWarriors Postgame: Dwyane Wade - December 25, 2017

Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade spoke with the media following Monday's loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Dec 25, 2017  |  04:12

#CavsWarriors Postgame: Jae Crowder - December 25, 2017

Cavaliers forward Jae Crowder spoke with the media following Monday's loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Dec 25, 2017  |  02:30

#CavsWarriors Postgame: Coach Lue - December 25, 2017

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Monday's loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Dec 25, 2017  |  04:09

Kevin Love Scores 31 vs. Warriors

Kevin Love posts a double-double on the board with 31 points and 18 rebounds in the Cavaliers loss to the Warriors.
Dec 25, 2017  |  01:50

GAME RECAP: Warriors 99, Cavaliers 92

Kevin Durant drops 25 points and grabs seven rebounds as the Warriors defeat the Cavaliers in a Christmas Day Special.
Dec 25, 2017  |  02:15

DWade with the Putback at the Buzzer

Dwyane Wade alertly gathers the rebound and goes right back up to beat the shot clock buzzer.
Dec 25, 2017  |  00:09

KLove on Fire in Oakland

Kevin Love catches fire in Oakland on Christmas Day.
Dec 25, 2017  |  00:51

LBJ Dimes KLove

LeBron James and Kevin Love work the pick-and-roll to perfection as LBJ drops the dime to KLove for the layup.
Dec 25, 2017  |  00:09

DWade with the Tough Finish

Dwyane Wade gets the steal at one end and gets the difficult left-handed layup to fall at the other in this Goodyear 'More Driven' highlight.
Dec 25, 2017  |  00:24

Featured Highlight: LBJ Rocks the Rim

LeBron James blows past the Warriors defense and throws the hammer down.
Dec 25, 2017  |  00:08

#CavsWarriors Practice: LeBron James - December 24, 2017

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media prior to Sunday's practice in San Francisco.
Dec 24, 2017  |  06:29

#CavsWarriors Practice: Dwyane Wade - December 24, 2017

Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade spoke with the media prior to Sunday's practice in San Francisco.
Dec 24, 2017  |  07:09

#CavsWarriors Practice: Coach Lue - December 24, 2017

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media prior to Sunday's practice in San Francisco.
Dec 24, 2017  |  04:31