LeBron James and Stephen Curry Get Ready for a Basketball Rematch on Christmas

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers
Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports
lebron james, stephen curry

After winning two NBA titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, LeBron James had one goal last season: deliver a championship to his original (and hometown) team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. But that quest ended in resounding defeat last June, thanks to the dominance of the Golden State Warriors. (Injuries to James’s All-Star teammates Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving didn’t help.)

James and his teammates will look for regular-season redemption courtesy of a Finals rematch, part of a five-game Christmas Day slate on ABC and ESPN. But it won’t be easy, considering they’re facing a team that opened the season with 24 straight victories, smashing the record (15-0) for consecutive wins to start a season. Oh, and the Warriors happen to have a guy named Stephen Curry, who’s leading the league in scoring (31.2 points per game). “Curry is shooting at a level that, particularly off the dribble, we have not seen before,” says ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

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And while Love is back in the Cavaliers lineup, without Irving at full strength, James and company are still at a disadvantage. “Obviously, James is a special, special player,” Van Gundy says, “but Golden State has the size and length and multitude of bodies to make it more difficult for him [to score].”

Ultimately, according to Van Gundy, the Warriors are going to put on a Yuletide show. “I don’t care who Golden State plays,” he says, “they’re the prohibitive favorite. They have a destructive offensive force in Curry. Golden State at home against anybody is a no-brainer.”

NBA Basketball: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors, Friday, Dec. 25, 5/4c, ABC