Golden State, Cleveland renew acquaintances
Kevin Durant was merely an observer during recent Cavaliers-Warriors battles. This afternoon, however, he’s expected to perform a central role in the proceedings at Quicken Loans Arena.
The latest installment in an ever-deepening rivalry between basketball’s top two titans unfolds at 2:30 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Golden State odds of -145 to emerge victorious. Cleveland, on the other hand, represents a +125 underdog.
After squandering a 3-1 edge against the Cavs in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors lured Durant away from Oklahoma City. The seven-time All-Star has leapfrogged Stephen Curry as the Dubs’ primary scorer, averaging 25.9 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists. In 17 career meetings vs. Cleveland, Durant is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.
Look for LeBron James to draw the assignment of guarding No. 35 for the bulk of the afternoon. The leader of the Cavaliers had 19 points, six dimes, five boards and three steals in Friday’s 119-99 triumph over Brooklyn. He’s completely clear on how to navigate the stage in question, too, playing in his 11th Christmas affair.
The Warriors (27-4) have actually captured five of their past six regular-season road tilts against Tyronn Lue’s bunch. On the surface, Draymond Green’s return (he missed one contest following the birth of his son) would appear to provide even more a boost for the visiting crew. We like Cleveland (22-6) to rise to the occasion, though, and mess up the Dubs’ initiation of sorts for Durant.
SUNDAY NBA FREE PICK: CAVALIERS +3.5