The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are meeting for the second and final time this season on Martin Luther King Day, highlights a day full of NBA action. Cleveland pulled off a narrow one-point victory over Golden State on Christmas Day, and the Warriors are set on getting revenge as both teams remain at the top of their respective conferences.
So, which one of these NBA powers will come out on top? Here's our full preview & prediction:
When: 8:00 PM EST
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Spread: Warriors -7.5
What They're Saying About The Golden State Warriors:
Warriors Recall Damian Jones from Santa Cruz (NBA.com)
Stephen Curry needs the ball against Cleveland (Fansided)
NBA-best Warriors still searching for right balance between risk and reward (CSN Bay Area)
What They're Saying About The Cleveland Cavaliers:
Cavs Hype Video (Chat Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers: Cedi Osman Drawing Interest From Denver Nuggets, Others (Fansided)
Is payback in offing as Cleveland Cavaliers face Golden State Warriors? (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
Key To The Game: Who will Golden State's offense run through?
For as good as Golden State is, they have run into some small chemistry issues on the offensive end. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green appear to be frustrated in deferring to Kevin Durant, which has cost them in a few games down the stretch this season - most notably against the Cavs, where they blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.
This game will likely be close throughout, putting Golden State's late-game execution into the spotlight. It is worth noting that Cleveland has been able to limit Stephen Curry's effectiveness against them, holding the two-time reigning MVP to 17 and 15 points in their last two matchups. However, given those chemistry issues, look for the Warriors to try to get Curry going early.
Prediction: Warriors win 119-106
As good as Golden State is, they are even better at home - and they'll be playing with the added intensity of trying to get revenge on Cleveland. For the Cavs, this game isn't as important. They have already proven they can beat this version of the Warriors, they are dealing with a rash of injuries and are at the end of a six-game road trip. While the intensity will be there between these two rivals, I expect Cleveland to run very basic sets on both ends of the floor - they don't want to give away any more strategy in case these two teams meet in the Finals. The result is a somewhat comfortable win for the Warriors.