Warriors win rematch with Cavaliers; Westbrook leads Thunder past Rockets
Klay Thompson made a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:33 left, Kevin Durant defended LeBron James and delivered on both ends against Cleveland just as he did six months ago to earn Finals MVP, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Cavaliers 99-92 on Monday in a Christmas rematch of opponents from the past three NBA championship series.
Durant’s block against a driving James with 24.5 seconds left went to official review and was ruled clean. Durant finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
Kevin Love had 31 points with six three-pointers and a season-best 18 rebounds, while James contributed 20 points, six rebounds and six assists in a rivalry missing one key piece. The Warriors’ two-time MVP Stephen Curry missed his eighth consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle.
Thompson scored 24 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. It was Golden State’s 12th win in 13 games after its 11-game winning streak was snapped by Denver on Saturday night.
Warriors rookie Jordan Bell traveled with 2:13 left and James tied it before Thompson came through with his fourth three-pointer.
James’ three-pointer with 10:39 left pulled Cleveland within 73-72, but Green immediately answered with a three-pointer and Andre Iguodala scored two of his nine points the next time down. In another key sequence, Durant blocked Tristan Thompson’s shot with 6:23 to go and dunked moments later.
No surprise, the up-tempo, running rivals provided high entertainment once again. The Warriors last June captured a second championship in three years against James and the Cavaliers.
“I forgot all about it,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said with a chuckle.
He certainly can recall Cleveland’s title-clinching victory at Oracle Arena in 2016 after the Warriors won it all in 2015 for their first title in 40 years.
The teams will see each other again soon, playing Jan. 15 in Cleveland.
at Oklahoma City 112, Houston 107: Russell Westbrook had 31 points and 11 assists to help the the Thunder stay hot with the win over the Rockets.
Paul George scored 24 points and Carmelo Anthony added 20 for the Thunder, who won their fifth straight game. Oklahoma City shot 54.4 percent from the field.
James Harden led the Rockets with 29 points, but he made only seven of 18 shots from the field. The league’s leading scorer was coming off back-to-back 51-point games.
Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon each scored 20 points and Clint Capela added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, which lost its third straight.
Houston point guard Chris Paul sat out with a groin strain. The Rockets are 15-1 when he plays and 10-6 when he doesn’t.
Philadelphia 105, at New York 98: Joel Embiid had 25 points and 16 rebounds, JJ Redick scored 24 points, and the Philadelphia 76ers snapped a five-game losing streak.
Neither player was cleared to play until going through pregame warmups, and their presence gave the 76ers just enough to win their first Christmas Day appearance since 2001.
Embiid, who has been battling a bad back, powered through a big-man duel with Enes Kanter, who had a season-high 31 points and a career-best 22 rebounds.
Redick, who missed the last game with right hamstring tightness, helped the 76ers pull away from an 89-all tie midway through the fourth quarter.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points for the Knicks, who fell to 22-30 on Christmas with their fifth straight loss on the holiday.
Backup point guard T.J. McConnell had Philadelphia’s final eight points of the third quarter, and the 76ers pushed the lead to nine with about nine minutes left in the game.
Washington 111, at Boston 103: Bradley Beal scored 25 points, John Wall finished with 21 points and 14 assists, and the Wizards won in the Celtics’ first Christmas Day home game in franchise history.
Otto Porter Jr. added 20 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 16, helping Washington take the first meeting between the teams since Boston’s Game 7 victory at home in the second round of the playoffs last spring.
Eastern Conference-leading Boston lost for the third time in four games. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum each scored 20 points for the Celtics, and Terry Rozier had 16.
Boston opened a 95-90 lead on Irving’s three-pointer with 6:18 left, but the Wizards responded with a 12-0 run. Beal capped the spurt with a three-point play and a breakaway dunk off a turnover. Wall added a layup and two free throws down the stretch to help Washington hold on.
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