Golden State Warriors: Christmas previews what's to come

BY Fansided and Paul Matli/FanSided via Blue Man Hoop • December 27, 2016

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers provided an instant classic on Christmas Day. Is this a sign of things to come in June?

The hype surrounding the NBA Finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers was out of control for a regular season game. Based on the ratings, the hype was warranted.

The Warriors/Cavs showdown had a viewing audience of over 10 million people on Sunday afternoon. Those who tuned in weren’t disappointed.

Even if this is a regular season game and doesn’t mean a whole lot. Considering the Warriors won both games last year and didn’t win the championship, there was a different intensity surrounding this game.

Both teams wanted to come out on top in front of a National audience and came ready to play. The game couldn’t have gone better for the NBA as far as the conclusion. The game was the highest rated in the last 12 years on the ABC Network. These two teams facing off again in June will be the ultimate win for the NBA.

There’s a lot that could happen between now and June, like injuries; but right now it doesn’t look like any team will be able to beat the Warriors or Cavaliers four times in their respective conferences.

Despite the loss the Warriors have things to be happy about. Kevin Durant is playing well and proving he’s a bonafide MVP candidate, while starting to become the Warriors go to guy down the stretch of games. Klay Thompson showing up on both ends of the floor was a welcome sight because he didn’t have a great Finals last season. Also, scoring 108 points without much production from Draymond Green or Stephen Curry should be seen as a positive.

The most troubling sign was Curry’s continued struggles against the Cavaliers.

Curry had a built-in excuse in last years finals because his MCL wasn’t completely healed. Anyone who followed the Warriors knew Curry  wasn’t healthy. Sunday’s game had to give the Warriors some worrying signs.

Curry struggled against the size and length of Deandre Liggins. Liggins 6’6” frame and seven foot wingspan bothered Curry. It was clear watching Curry that he was flustered. If Curry struggles against Liggins again in two weeks, the question about him being a Curry stopper wouldn’t be out of the question.

Two more things were concerning; the bench production and not finishing.

The Warriors bench was outscored 25-13 by the Cavaliers bench. The Warriors played 12 players and the Cavaliers played 8 and they still got outscored. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston in particular were invisible. Iguodala not being effective was surprising considering the impact he’s had defending Lebron James in recent years. Outside of game one of the Finals last season, Livingston has struggled against the Cavaliers. They will need both to win a championship come June.

Finally, the Warriors inability to close games finally came to the forefront. Their crunch time offense hasn’t been great all season, but they’ve gotten away with it. The fact they blew two double digits leads in separate halves seems incomprehensible because it never happens to the Warriors.

Despite the loss, the Warriors should take away positives from the showdown and use them in later meetings. Regular season games mean nothing in the grand scheme of an 82-game season. The game might be about bragging rights, but bragging rights mean nothing unless you close the deal in June.

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