Cavs edge Warriors in thriller; Spurs rout Bulls

The Cavaliers were, simply, the Cavaliers on Sunday as the defending champs snapped 

the Warriors' nine-game winning streak against Eastern Conference teams with a 109-108 win at Quicken Loans Arena. 

Kyrie Irving's fadeaway over Klay Thompson, who couldn't have done a better job defensively on the play, closed the deal with 3.4 seconds to play. 

MORE: Breaking down the three huge calls that hurt Golden State

But a special win? Sorry.

"It's not about those guys. It's about our journey," LeBron James said afterward. "That's a helluva team over there. We know that over there in the Western Conference they're going to be there in the long run. But for us, it's about our progress, it's about our journey and we want to get better every day."

Even if James won't admit it, the epic game lived up to ABC and ESPN's hype (which is saying something). 

The teams play again Jan. 16 in Oakland and wouldn't meet again until a potential Cavs-Warriors rubber match in the Finals.

Thank you, Santa! (a.k.a. Studs of the Day).

— They weren't as flashy as Russell Westbrook (31 points, 15 assists, 7 rebounds), but Thunder big men Steven Adams (22 points and a plus-13 +/- when on the floor) and Enes Kanter (20 points, plus-16) were undeniably effective in a 112-100 win over the Timberwolves. 

MORE: No, Westbrook didn't troll Durant and the Warriors on Christmas

— The Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge, who averages 16.4 points per game, surpassed that mark in the first quarter against the Bulls by going 9-for-9 from the floor. Meanwhile, we'll put Chicago here for rallying from a 20-point first-half deficit to lead in San Antonio in the third quarter. But the Spurs — led by Aldridge (33 points) and Kawhi Leonard (25) — won, 119-100, so that 20-point deficit was dud-worthy.

— The Celtic suits were OK with all the kids running around Madison Square Garden in green. "We've only had, I think, two nights at home since Dec. 2. So it hasn't been an easy month on a lot of our players and coaches," coach Brad Stevens told reporters, via, "so we wanted to bring as many [family members] as we possibly could with us."

MORE: Al Horford stole all of Kristaps Porzingis' presents

Big holiday thumbs up. Oh, and Isaiah Thomas' 27 points and Marcus Smart's dagger 3-pointer late gave the Celtics their fourth straight win over the Knicks, 119-114.

Socks and underwear (a.k.a. Duds of the Day).

— OK, not socks literally because, well … the ones Karl-Anthony Towns (and others) wore were studly.

— Whether it's on the Steve Kerr (who left a timeout in the holster), the refs (for a no-call when new Warrior Kevin Durant tripped) or Durant, who scored 36 points but whose stumble meant he didn't get a shot off in the last 3.4 seconds, Golden State has to function better in the clutch against the Cavs. Sure, it's only one regular-season game, but use the 2016 NBA Finals as further context.

MORE: Cavs mess with Warriors before game even starts

— Disappointing: Clippers guard Chris Paul, initially cleared for the late game against the Lakers, was scratched after warmups because the nine-time All-Star didn't feel comfortable with a tender hamstring, according to a Clippers team representative (via ESPN). The Clippers could've used him. The Lakers, with seven players in double figures, closed out the day with a 111-102 win.


Monster play by LeBron. Check. Smooth stroke by KD. Check. Clutch winning fadeaway by Kyrie Irving. Check. So, what's up, Richard Jefferson?

Um, call that a statement dunk over Klay Thompson (RJ had another over Durant), and a well-earned technical for taunting after showing there's still some hop in those 36-year-old legs. 

What's next

Cavaliers (23-6) at Pistons (14-18) — We might've pointed to Bucks-Wizards, just to see how Giannis Antetokounmpo follows his 39-point effort Friday against Washington, or maybe Raptors-Blazers for a primo backcourt matchup — if Damian Lillard (ankle) can play.

Instead, you'll want to see how LeBron & Co. respond after Sunday's hyped Finals rematch. It'll be interesting to see who Cavs coach Tyronn Lue plays in Detroit, especially given the physical and emotional energy Sunday required.