Cavs Christmas Day Primer

Some Quick Facts About the Wine & Gold's Holiday History
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Managing Editor


Cavs Christmas Day Primer

Some Quick Facts About the Wine & Gold's Holiday History


Before LeBron James became the generational King of the East and Steph Curry and Co. literally revolutionized the sport, the Cavaliers and Warriors was just like any other inter-Conference rivalry.

These days, it IS the rivalry – highlighting the Christmas Day schedule that some call the NBA’s unofficial opening day.

Every year feels different, but this season’s matchup feels especially unique. Curry is out with an ankle injury, but it’s more than that. The Cavaliers are a different squad – not the “top heavy” team they’ve been, now bragging a bench that averages almost 12 more points than last season’s. And they’re still a couple pieces away from the one that could return to the Bay area six months from now.

”Obviously, this is a new team for us,” said James before the Cavs’ Christmas Eve practice in San Francisco. “We’re still trying to put things together and put pieces together. But you’d be unhuman if you played three straight Finals vs. a team and you felt nothing when you went on the floor against them.”

With all this in mind, Cavs.com put together a little Christmas Day primer to get you humans ready for Monday’s showdown in Oakland …


* The Cavaliers have never lost at home on Christmas Day, going 6-0 all-time – including last year’s thrilling 109-108 win over the Dubs last season at The Q. Unfortunately, they’ve gone 1-6 away from home – including an 89-83 lump of coal here at Oracle Arena in 2015. (They’re lone road win came in 2009 when they smushed the Lakers by 15 at STAPLES Center.)

* Dwyane Wade is the winningest Christmas Day player of all-time, coming into Monday afternoon’s matchup with a 10-2 record. One of those losses was a two-touchdown loss to the Cavs in 2007 at The Q; one of the wins was a 10-point win over Cleveland in 2014 on South Beach.

* Wade will also tie for second place on the league’s list of games played on Christmas Day (13) – three behind the all-time leader, Kobe Bryant (16).

A wide shot of LeBron James after he tossed powder into the air and received a similar response from the fans who threw confetti prior to the game against the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

* The Lakers and Knicks are tied with the most Christmas Day appearances all-time with 22. The Knicks played in the first-ever matchup back in 1947, shutting down the high-octane Providence Steamrollers, 89-75. The Lakers will be playing on Christmas for the 19th consecutive year.

* It only just seems like the Cavaliers only started playing on Christmas Day since LeBron James arrived. But actually, they played six such games in their pre-LBJ days.

In Cleveland’s inaugural season, Dave Sorenson led the Cavs with 20 points in a loss to the Cincinnati. In a Miracle of Richfield rematch in 1976, Jim Chones led the Cavs with 15 points but Truck Robinson led everyone with 28 in a one-sided Bullets win. In 1977, Campy Russell led everyone with 28 points in a win over Buffalo at The Coliseum. In 1979, Mike Mitchell finished with 23 points and 19 boards as Cleveland dropped Detroit. In a three-point home win over the Hawks in 1984, Phil Hubbard, World B. Free and Mel Turpin combined for 62 points.

And in 1989 at the Omni in Atlanta, Mark Price doubled-up with 13 points and 11 assists and Hot Rod Williams led Cleveland with 17 points in a one-sided loss to the Hawks. (Steve Kerr added 11 points, going 5-of-7 from the floor.)

* It would be another 14 years before the Cavaliers would play again on Christmas Day – a matchup between then-rookie, LeBron James and Tracy McGrady’s Magic in Orlando. The Magic haven’t played on Christmas Day since that game, a drought that pales in comparison to Milwaukee’s. The Bucks haven’t played on December 25 since 1977.

* Seems like a long time ago, but the Wine & Gold are at least partially responsible for resurrecting Shaun Livingston’s career – claiming him off waivers on Christmas Day back in 2013, three days after being released by the Wizards. Livingston played 49 games with the Cavaliers that season, a full season the next year in Brooklyn and would proceed to eventually win two Rings (at the Cavs expense) with the Warriors.

* Russell Westbrook tallied a triple-double in 2013 and LeBron achieved the feat in 2010 against the Lakers with 27 points, 11 boards, 10 assists and four steals. The last player to record a triple-double before that was Billy Cunningham in 1970.

* Here’s a statistical anomaly: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are both tied for 3rd in scoring (301 points) and assists (76) all-time on Christmas Day games. If they finish with the same point and assist totals after tomorrow’s game, Adam Silver might need to look into it.

In other Christmas Day categories, LeBron is 1st in three-pointers made (11) and 4th in steals (11).

* As cool as point, rebound and assist accumulations are over the course of Christmas Day games, the averages leaders are who really stick out. In three games, Tracy McGrady averaged 43.3 points. In 12 games, Oscar Roberson averaged 12.1 assists. And in six contests, the always-prolific Wilt Chamberlain averaged 25.3 rebounds per.

* The Cavaliers and Warriors are the only other teams – besides the Lakers and Heat from 2004-06 – to face each other on Christmas Day in three straight seasons. Monday’s meeting marks the ninth time the previous season’s Finals team will meet again.

#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