12/26/2017 6:29:10 AM

Durant, Thompson lead Warriors over Cavaliers

Durant, Thompson lead Warriors over Cavaliers

Los Angeles: Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and both made crucial plays in the final seconds on Monday, lifting the NBA champion Golden State Warriors over Cleveland 99-92.

In a Christmas rematch of the NBA Finals that marked their third consecutive meeting on the holiday, the host Warriors won for the 12th time in 13 games to reach 27-7 while the Cavaliers fell to 24-10.

Golden State grabbed a 90-81 edge, the Warriors' biggest of the night, before the Cavaliers answered with an 11-2 run, pulling level at 92-92 on a LeBron James layup with two minutes remaining.

Thompson sank a 3-pointer to put Golden State ahead to stay and tough defensive pressure by Durant forced James to lose the ball out of bounds.

"He wants to guard him,"  coach Steve Kerr said of Durant's desire to defend James. "It just so happens that KD is the right matchup for us and he wants the job."

The Cavaliers got the ball back after the Warriors missed two 3-point shots. James drove to the basket and appeared to be fouled but no whistle was blown and the ball was ruled to have gone out of bounds off James. 

Durant played down his decisive role.

"It's Christmas," Durant said. "So much joy in the arena and we feed off that. It's just fun to be a part of."

The Cavs were forced to foul to stop the clock and Thompson sank four late free throws to seal the triumph.

Green contributed 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his first triple double of the season.

Cleveland's Kevin Love had game highs of 31 points and 18 rebounds while James added 20 points but made a game-high seven turnovers.

The Warriors were without Stephen Curry, who has missed three weeks with an ankle injury and could miss another week, while the Cavaliers were without Isaiah Thomas, who has been sidelined since being obtained in a trade with Boston involving Kyrie Irving.

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