Matchup Of The Season On Christmas Day!
In another a couple of days, Christmas will be upon us and if you had any thoughts of going away or watching a movie, hold your horses, I don’t think you want to miss the first Cavs Vs Warriors match up of the season.
13th of June, 2017 marked the end of a trilogy of rivalry between the Cavs and the Warriors and for the fourth consecutive year, they are the heavy favourites to reach the finals. The King James and Chef Curry led squads are both onto impressive starts for the season as they both rank 2nd in their respective conferences.
Golden State Warriors being the reigning champions are continuing their dominance over the league with ease. Adding Nick Young and Omri Casspi, who are legit 3 point shooters, during the off season to the already elite company has made their bench better than what it was last year.
Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green; the 4 all stars of the Warriors, have been putting up staggering numbers and performances throughout the past few years and they continue to do so. Mainly due to their efforts, Warriors sit on the top of points per game, 3-point field goal percentage, assists per game, blocks per game, offensive rating and net rating lists. The length of the list should suffice the reasoning behind Warriors being the monster whom everyone is trying to behead.
The Curry-Durant-Thompson trio are averaging 26.3, 26.1 and 20.9 points per game while the team averages a staggering 30.8 assists per game which perfectly resonates their resolution to move the ball until they get the best shot on the floor. One of the most improved aspects of Warriors when compared with previous seasons is their defence. Warriors enjoyed the perks of the aggressiveness Draymond Green brought to the table last year and this time it’s Durant who’s stepped up his game big time defensively.
KD, who has got better with using his length is now a premier shot blocker of the league; ranking 3rd behind Rudy Gobert and Kristaps Porzingis who are elite centers. Due to the lack of big centers in the roster, Durant being a better rim protector is immensely facilitating with spacing out the floor for Curry and Thompson to get better looks.
Warriors are currently on an 8 game winning streak with a 23-6 record and one of the major concerns for them at the moment is Steph Curry rolling his right ankle over E’Twan Moore’s foot with just over a minute remaining on regulation, during a match up against Pelicans on 5th December.
“I sprained my ankle. See how it feels tomorrow and kind of go from there.”@StephenCurry30 speaks to reporters after the game.
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 5, 2017
Curry, who has suffered numerous leg injuries in his career, seemed confident with his rehabilitation process and he’s to be re-evaluated in 2 weeks. In the interim, Steve Kerr, the Warriors head coach, has dug deeper into the bench and so far it’s been working. Curry’s availability for the Christmas day match up is not yet confirmed but at the moment, it seems a bit doubtful.
Meanwhile the Cavs are on a roll of their own. Winning 16 of 17 matches with highly appreciable bench performances makes the headline for the wine and gold ballers.
After a 13-game winning streak, the Cavs are currently on another 4 game winning streak and Dwayne Wade and Kyle Korver are epicentres for the NBA sixth man award already.
The Cavs bench averages 40.7 points, 14.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists and a highly impressive, low turnover rate of 4.6. Dwayne Wade, Kyle Korver, Channing Frye, Jeff Green, Cedi Osman, Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert form the Cavs bench. One can argue that they are even good enough to be in the starting line-ups for several other teams and they are not wrong. Wade, Korver and Green who carry more weight of the second unit average 11.3, 10.7 and 10.6 points per game with shooting percentages of 45.2%, 48.2% and 50.9% respectively.
Roughly one-third of the way through the 2017-18 season, the NBA Math team (and some patrons) decided to do some straw-polling for each of the NBA's major awards. The results follow in this thread.
— NBA Math (@NBA_Math) December 11, 2017
Along with LeBron James, Kyle Korver has converted into one of the go-to guys at crunch time for Cavs due to his elite shooting skills. Being dubbed “Mr. Fourth Korver” perfectly describes how much he’s dominated Cavs offence during the 4th quarter and their winning streak speaks for his success and capabilities.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 16, 2017
With the absence of Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose, José Calderon has stepped up big time as well as the starting point guard and surprisingly has the best 3-point shooting percentage of 48.7% in the Cavs roster.
During his visit back to Cleveland, James had limited support from his teammates on previous seasons. Though the names of the roster sounded familiar to many, they couldn’t perform at high levels when it mattered the most and it’s exciting to see how this high-powered roster will perform along with the mind-boggling performances of James.
As a prediction, it would be unwise not to favour the Warriors to win the Christmas Day match up but when Curry’s injury and the Cavs current intensity are taken into consideration, it wouldn’t come off as a shock even if they win, just like last year. Durant is currently covering up for Curry’s absence, putting up incredible stat lines and if NBA finals experiences are any sort of evidence, it will be hard to shut him down. If the Cavs manage to do so, they will give themselves a better chance to win and as far as the Warriors are concerned, the bench stepping up and being aggressive with their high offensive pace will do the trick.
So that’s a wrap for the preview of the Christmas Day matchup. Keep tuned in for an analysis after 25th to see who comes on top. Till then, keep balling! (By Lelum M.)