In the ultimate Christmas gift from the NBA, fans can watch live online for free when the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors for the first time since June 16 when the Warriors finished off a comeback NBA Finals victory, crushing Cleveland’s hopes for the first championship in franchise history. Golden State took the title after winning their third straight game, after Cleveland took a 2-1 lead the 2014-2015 Finals.
Now, the two best teams in the National Basketball Association — led by the league’s two best players in Cleveland’s Lebron James and Golden State’s Stephen Curry — go at each other once again in a Christmas Day rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.
Unlike the decisive Game 6 last June, this one takes place in Oakland where the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in Game 5 on June 14.
James, for his part, is playing down the significance of the December 25 clash.
“The memories will come back as soon as we walk into the building, but also understand it’s one of 82 and I’m not going to put everything into this game,” he said on Thursday.
Christmas Day has become a traditional date for the previous season’s NBA Finals teams to stage their first showdown of the regular season. Friday’s Cavaliers-Warriors matchup will mark the seventh time that a Finals rematch has been scheduled for Christmas Day.
The game could have taken on an even greater weight had the Warriors not lost to the Milwaukee Bucks on December 12, stopping their season-opening undefeated streak at 24 games. Golden State now comes into the game at 27-1, while Cleveland sports an also-impressive record of 19-7.
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The Warriors, however, have won all 13 of their home games this season, so the Cavaliers would like to be the first to knock them off their Oracle Arena perch.
Get warmed up for the Christmas Day Cavaliers vs. Warriors matchup with the action-packed video preview, below.
To find out how to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors Christmas Day NBA Finals rematch game live online for free, see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Opening tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. Pacific Time at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on Christmas Day, Friday, December 25. The game will start at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
Not all of the players were taking a blasé approach to the game. Warriors center Andrew Bogut said he anticipated an intense confrontation as James and the Cavaliers come in with something to prove.
“We know it’s huge for them to come here,” Bogut said Thursday. “We’re undefeated at home, and with our record, they want to make a statement to us and we want to do the same. I anticipate it being one of the classics that we can all watch in 10 to 15 years.”
Nonetheless, the game is the first of four road games crammed into a five-day stretch for Cleveland, meaning that the team is as likely to be trying to conserve energy as much as score points. The Cavaliers travel to Portland for a game on Saturday, then back down south to Phoenix for a Monday clash with the Suns, followed the next day by a game against the Nuggets in Denver.
“We’re looking forward to going down there,” Cleveland Coach David Blatt told ESPN. “I don’t see it as a replay of the Finals by any stretch but on the other hand it’s great for the game that so many people are interested in it and so many people are excited about it. We’re a part of that and that says something, too.”
ESPN3, the online-only service of ESPN, will stream the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors NBA Finals rematch game live online from Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, at this link. ESPN3 comes without charge, and without cable login credentials required, to subscribers of most major internet service providers and many minor ISPs as well. For a full list, check this link.
[Featured Photo By Ben Margot/Associated Press]