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Top Five Storylines to Look Forward to in Cleveland’s Christmas Day Matchup
- Updated: December 25, 2016
3. Will Channing Frye show what he can do against the Warriors?
In the Eastern Conference semifinals against Atlanta and the conference finals against Toronto, Frye’s 3-point shooting off the bench was absolutely essential to the Cavs’ success. But he was no factor whatsoever in the finals, not even getting into the final three games.
Lue might have no choice but to see what Frye can give him, particularly with the lack of big-man depth following the season-ending knee injury to Chris Andersen. If he can provide a lift to begin the second quarter and not be a matchup liability when the Warriors have the ball, it would be a feel-good holiday story for a well-liked teammate still coming to grips with the loss of both of his parents a month apart.
2. Can LeBron and Kyrie keep up their blistering paces?
The duo which brought the Cavs back to life in Game 5 with matching 41-point efforts has come close of late to duplicating that night in Oakland. With Love sitting out Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a left knee contusion, the two best players on the court were just who you thought they would be.
James stuffed the stat sheet with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Irving poured in 31 points and dished out a career-high 13 assists. In his first 10 games this month, James averaged 28.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists while shooting 53.5 percent. In three games after sitting out last week’s back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies, Irving averaged a double-double. Slowing down either of them will be a daunting challenge for the Warriors, especially if Green is unavailable.
1. How will Kevin Durant fare against the Cavs in a Warriors uniform?
Heading into Saturday night, Durant is averaging 25.9 points and a career-best 8.4 rebounds a game, silencing virtually any of the doubts about whether he could co-exist with Klay Thompson and two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry.
But in the two times he faced the Cavs last season as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant’s plus-minus rating was -13.3, by far the worst he had against any opponent. While that wasn’t a huge sample size, it still gives pause about how effective he might be.