Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Monday 25th December, 8pm (UK time)
The Warriors may not have the dominant record that they’ve enjoyed in previous seasons, but they’re still the best team in the NBA right now. Golden State, which boasts a 23-6 record as of 18th December, has only lost at home three times. Curry and Durant are both averaging 26 points per game, and Klay Thompson adds 21 of his own. Meanwhile, Draymond still does the dirty work while new additions like Nick Young and Jordan Bell provide energy off the bench. This Warriors team is deeper and more dangerous than ever, and they’re ready to compete for another title.
The Cavaliers started off the season with a shaky 5-7 record, but they’ve since won 18 of 19 games to improve their record to 23-8. They now trail only the Celtics in the East, and LeBron looks younger and better than ever. He’s averaging 28 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds per game. Kevin Love, who’s stepped up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas and Tristan Thompson, puts up 19 points and ten boards per contest. Isaiah Thomas, who averaged nearly 30 points last season with the Celtics, could be back on the floor for this game.
Though LeBron has carried his team to win after win, the Warriors’ scoring and depth will likely be too much for him on the road. The Warriors should avenge their Christmas Day loss last year in this 2017 version of the league’s best rivalry.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
Tuesday 26th December, 1am (UK time)
It’s difficult to find a more dysfunctional team than the OKC Thunder. Despite adding All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, as well as Patrick Patterson, in the offseason, they sit at 14-15 and out of the postseason picture in the West. Russell Westbrook is averaging 23 points, ten rebounds, and ten assists per game, but he’s shooting a career-low 39% from the field. George and Anthony aren’t much better, as both are shooting 40% right now. The Thunder have been incredibly inconsistent this year, beating teams like the 76ers, Jazz, and Spurs while losing to bottom feeders like the Knicks, Nets, Hornets, and Magic.
The Rockets may have finally found an answer for the Warriors: Chris Paul. Houston has yet to lose a game with CP3 on the floor, and he’s run their offence to perfection thus far. Surprisingly, Paul and Harden have complemented each other well without stepping on each other’s toes along the way. They’ll ride a 13-game winning streak into Week 10, and they’ve lost just once in their last 18 games. Houston’s combination of outside shooters like Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson as well as rim-running big men like Clint Capela and Nene Hilario makes them the perfect NBA team in 2017.
The Thunder will seek a rare victory against the Rockets at home on Christmas Day, but they’ll have a tough time slowing down Paul and Harden. Expect the Rockets to win this one on the road to ruin Westbrook’s Christmas.