Durant and the refs help the Warriors sneak past Cavs: 3 takeaways

The Golden State Warriors managed to squeak past LeBron James and the Cavs. Here are our three takeaways.

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t fail to disappoint us on Christmas Day.

While most of us were trying to recover from being woken up by the kids when the sun hadsn’t even come out yet, the Cavs and the Warriors played what amounted to be (so far) the best game of the NBA’s annual Christmas Day games. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green managed to get past a Cavalier team that has hit their stride as of late. A few key new calls on Kevin Durant as he defended LeBron down the stretch helped make the difference. Here are our three takeaways from this epic rematch.

LeBron James failed to show up when it mattered. How many people out there think that King James’ 7-of-18 effort was a bit subpar for a game of this magnitude?

I see your hands.

The Cavs have been pointing to this game all season as their first big test, and James’ subpar shooting, both from the field and from the line, was not what Cavs fans were really expecting. While he did get 20 points, seven rebounds, and led the team with six assists, he was too passive when they needed him to be aggressive, and if Cleveland plans to go far in the playoffs, he has to become more aggressive when it matters the most.

How about the Warriors defense? As much as we sit in awe with Golden State’s explosive offense, we tend to forget at times just how good the Warriors defense is.

They showed everyone just how stealth it was on Christmas Day, holding the high-scoring Cavs to 92 points on just 28 made field goals. They held Cleveland’s two biggest guns, James and Kevin Love, to a combined 16-of-42 from the field, and didn’t really let the Cavs supporting cast step up to the plate, either.

While Cleveland kept the game close throughout, the Warriors defense never allowed them to gain any momentum, and in the end, that’s one of the main reasons why the Warriors walked off with the win.

Both the Cavs and the Warriors lived up to the hype: This was the premier game of Christmas Day, and neither team disappointed.

It was a tight game throughout, with neither team really gaining an advantage. In the end, though, it was Golden State’s defense that was the ultimate factor. However, this won’t really slow down the Cavs. Cleveland still is the team to beat in the East, and Golden State reassured the rest of the league that they are just fine without Stephen Curry. There’s every reason to think a fourth NBA Finals matchup between these two teams could be coming.