I know that there is a Cavaliers game tonight against the Knicks at The Q but I am not going to discuss that matchup. I would like to delve into the Cavs most important game of the year so far which occurs on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors.
On Friday, it will have been 92 days since the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in Game six of the 2015 NBA Finals. This will be the first meeting of the teams since June 16th.
A lot of things have transpired on each respective team in that time span. Some were good and some were bad.
Let us catch up with the Golden State Warriors. They are currently touting the best record in the NBA at 26-1 going into their Wednesday matchup against the Utah Jazz. It is a good bet that their record will be 27-1 when they host our Cavs on Christmas afternoon.
They had a 28-game winning streak dating back to last year’s regular season that was spoiled by the Milwaukee Bucks a couple of weeks ago.
Stephen Curry has played like an MVP again this year, leading the league in points scored per game. It is amazing to me how many shots that kid can make, seemingly, whenever he decides to.
The Warriors have overcome some adversity though this season as well. Klay Thompson has not been 100% healthy, but the largest obstacle for them was losing head coach Steve Kerr. Kerr is rehabilitating some back injuries and has taken a leave of absence to heal more efficiently. Luke Walton (son of NBA great Bill Walton) has taken over as interim coach and obviously has done quite a good job of it.
Meanwhile, back in Cleveland, Lebron James and the Cavaliers have been eyeing Christmas Day as their day for redemption. To be honest, I think that in terms of basketball, this entire city has had December 25th circled for months and it has nothing to do with Santa Claus.
Kyrie Irving returned to the Cavaliers lineup last Sunday and played 17 minutes. He contributed 12 points, one rebound and four assists. This was not a representation of what Irving is capable of, nor was it intended to be.
He is being eased into his return, and for good reason, as the Cavs will need his skill set immensely come playoff time. I know that he has had Christmas on his mind since the NBA schedule was announced. After all, his knee injury occurred in Game one of the Finals against Golden State.
On Friday, Irving returns to the “scene of the crime” in California and is eager to replace the memory of the injury with SportsCenter highlights of the Cavaliers handing the Warrior their second defeat of the season.
Millions of families celebrating the holiday will be sitting together watching this game. What a stage for a story of redemption!
I expect our team to remind, not only Curry and company, but the whole NBA, the level of defense you can expect from the Cavs. As it was in the Finals, I believe that the Cavs need to hold Golden State under 100 points in order to win.
This is no easy task against the most prolific offense in the NBA but I feel that we are up to the challenge. My team has always played better when they are a clear underdog.
That is what needs to be tapped into in this city we call home. There is no greater feeling than accomplishing something that no one thinks you are capable of accomplishing.
After all of the Christmas music is replaced with Auld Lang Syne, and the trash bags sit on the curb stuffed with shredded wrapping paper, Cleveland will know where we stand amongst the NBA elite. Cleveland may just get one of the best gifts it has received in years.
I predict a Cavaliers 98-93 victory which would light a flame in this city that shines just as bright as the one on the first Christmas.