Christmas is almost here, so now’s the perfect time to spread some NBA cheer. How about a look back and flash forward of a bitter basketball rivalry as part of the Orange Roundball League’s fantastic Christmas Day slate? Wouldn’t that be great? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I have two enormous gifts just for you. . . Two great teams going toe-to-toe.
Cavaliers @ Warriors
A stocking stuffer on Christmas Day is what you get with this matchup. Cleveland and Golden State have faced-off against one another in The Finals three-straight times dating back to 2015. Two of the three Larry O’Brien Trophies were raised by the mighty Warriors. But the Cavs got the best of the Warriors in 2016. After building a commanding 3-1 lead against LeBron “King” James, Kyrie “Uncle Drew” Irving & Co., Golden State’s chance at another title evaporated. An otherworldly block by LeBron after chasing down Andre Iguodala gave the Cavs a fighting chance in the last two minutes of Game 7. Inside a raucous Oracle Arena in Oakland, Kyrie provided the dagger triple with under one minute remaining in regulation. The result gave the city of Cleveland its first professional sports championship in 52-years. Wow!
Golden State added Kevin Durant to its 2016-17 roster, and Cleveland didn’t stand a chance against the revamped Warriors in a 2017 rematch. Now, Mr. Irving is donning Boston Celtic green in his escape from LeBron and the Cavs. However, former Celtic point guard Isaiah Thomas is inching closer to his return to the court in Cleveland.
It won’t matter in this Christmas Day collision as Thomas won’t see the floor, but IT is nearing his return from a torn labrum in his right hip. His presence will matter as the 2018 NBA Playoffs approach next April. A fourth-straight battle in The Finals isn’t outside of the realm of possibility. Not by a longshot. But, the Houston Rockets could become the Warriors’ kryptonite this year, and the Celtics may very well be the Cavs’ kryptonite in the East.
Stephen Curry will be out of Golden State’s lineup on Christmas due to a sprained right ankle. These Warriors are still a juggernaut even without Steph on the floor but expect the Cavs to make this a close contest in the Bay Area. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will be forced to provide the splash in this one, and I believe they will. A deep roster with the likes of Nick Young coming off the bench is a frightening sight for everyone else in the Association. Can Cleveland steal a “W” on the road with IT’s return to the floor being pushed back a few games? Absolutely. LeBron’s greatness will be on full display for all to see. Mr. Runaway Freight Train will have his sneakers securely on the tracks. Standing 6’8” and weighing in at 250-pounds, this freak of nature has averaged nearly a triple-double this season. These numbers are straight crazy – 28.4 points per game, 9.2 assists per game, and 8.2 rebounds per game. Oops, I almost forgot. King James is averaging 1.1 blocks per game as well. He’s simply a monster!
ESPN on ABC will air the goodies at 3:00 PM EST this Christmas Day. That’s the swing in the league for this week, ladies and gentlemen. Until next time, take in this Holiday delight.