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Warriors maintain upper hand vs. Cavs with Christmas win

Warriors defense on top, beat Cavaliers 89-83 in reprise of NBA Finals

Warriors maintain upper hand vs. Cavs with Christmas win

OAKLAND, California (AP) -- Golden State relied on its defense rather than trademark sharp-shooting in beating Cleveland 89-83 on Friday in a Christmas Day reprise of last season's NBA Finals.

The Warriors won their 32nd consecutive home game and widened the gap to the next-best Western Conference team as San Antonio's hot streak came to an end with defeat at Houston.

Oklahoma City -- with the third-best record in the West -- also lost, beaten at home by Chicago.

Golden State's Draymond Green had 22 points and 15 rebounds while Stephen Curry added 19 points for the Warriors, who maintained their edge over Cleveland by limiting the Cavaliers to 32 percent shooting.

LeBron James scored 25 points to lead the Cavaliers, who had won their previous six games.

Cleveland lost the Finals to the Warriors in six games but had excuses, missing power forward Kevin Love the entire series with a shoulder injury and losing point guard Kyrie Irving to a knee injury in the first game.

Having both those players healthy for this rematch did little to help Cleveland. Love scored just 10 points on 5-for-16 shooting, and Irving missed 11 of 15 shots in a 13-point game.

Houston slowed down the soaring San Antonio Spurs with an 88-84 victory.

The improved Houston defense held the Spurs to a season low in points to snap their season-best seven-game winning streak.

Houston's lead was shaky in the final five minutes, but James Harden hit a 3-pointer to push the lead out to eight points. After Tim Duncan's layup reduced the margin, Harden brought the crowd to its feet with an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner that made it 84-75.

Harden finished with 20 points, while Kawhi Leonard had the same tally for the Spurs.

Chicago provided the Christmas surprise with a 105-96 win at Oklahoma City.

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, and Pau Gasol had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who had lost their previous three.

Kevin Durant had 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Oklahoma City, who went into the game with nine wins from ten games.

Miami's Chris Bosh had 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Heat to a 94-88 overtime win against New Orleans.

The Clippers predictably beat the woeful Lakers 94-84 in the all-Los Angeles clash, with Chris Paul scoring 23 points for the victors.

Updated : 2021-06-23 11:32 GMT+08:00