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Warriors To See Off LeBron And Lakers On Christmas Day

December 18, 2018

Will the Warriors defeat LeBron and company?

LeBron James faces his old foes the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day for the first time as a Los Angeles Laker, returning to Oracle Arena where he has enjoyed the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

The 33-year-old won the NBA Championship in the 2015/16 campaign when his Cleveland Cavaliers team defeated the Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals, avenging their loss from the previous season. However, Golden State responded by beating the Cavaliers in back-to-back years.

LeBron ended his time in Cleveland last season and moved to Los Angeles. He has improved the fortunes of the Lakers to no end, guiding them into contention for the playoffs. They’re in step with the leading teams in the Western Conference, including the Warriors. His skills has displayed no signs of deterioration and he will be an impactful player in Golden State’s hopes for success again.

The Warriors were expected to march towards another NBA Championship this term. Their potent foursome remains on the court, while DeMarcus Cousins will appear at some point when he returns from injury. However, there has been reports of in-fighting between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, while injuries to Steph Curry along with Green have limited their availability.

Golden State are not the infallible team that was expected to be seen this season. Therefore LeBron and the Lakers will sense an opportunity on the road.

Get the best odds on Christmas day games with our top sportsbooks below:

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have dominated the NBA over the last four five years, winning three out of the four Championships, losing to the Cavaliers in the Finals in the campaign they failed to notch the crown. They have managed to keep their core of talent in place for an extended period of time, with Curry, Green, Thompson and Durant spending their third season together as a starting unit. Cousins was a savvy signing in the mould of Durant – a player taking less money to play for the Warriors in pursuit of a Championship. Cousins has yet to return from his Achilles’ injury, but when he does, Golden State’s starting five will all be All-Star players.

It’s an embarrassment of riches that no team in the NBA can match. However, it can only work when there’s chemistry between the players, and that has not been the case as Green and Durant were involved in a spat in a defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers. Durant holds the option for the final year of his deal with the Warriors and it will be interesting whether he remains at Oracle Arena. Green on the other hand was suspended for his part in another disagreement with Durant, suggesting that life is not rosy at the club. Meanwhile, Curry has had troubles with injuries, limiting his time on the court.

When fit, firing and friendly the Warriors have been impressive, although not quite to the standard of the previous years. At the time of writing they’ve already lost 10 matches, displaying weaknesses against the elite teams in the NBA, suffering defeats to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder. They also suffered a four-game losing streak in the middle of November, something that has been unheard of in the tenure of Steve Kerr. The pieces are there for the Warriors to find their old swagger and it would be no surprise to see them dominate on Christmas, but there’s not the aura of invincibility around the club this season.

Los Angeles Lakers

The worst kept secret in the NBA was revealed during the summer when LeBron announced that he was joining the Lakers. He penned a four-year deal with Los Angeles after spending four years in his second season with the Cavaliers. LeBron was outstanding in his four seasons with Cleveland and their immediate decline since his departure has highlighted his quality even further. It’s no surprise to see the team that he left plummet down the standings in the Eastern Conference, while the side that he joined has risen up the rankings after years of struggle.

For the first time in six years the Lakers are on course to reach the post-season. The storied franchise have been on the decline since Kobe Bryant began to fade as a force in the league, while perennial All-Star Pau Gasol moved on. Los Angeles has found a new icon to replace Bryant two years after his retirement. LeBron has been everything he was in Cleveland, being dominant on the court himself, while raising the standard of the players around him. As a result, the Lakers could be on course for a 50-win campaign for the first time since the 2010/11 season.

LeBron has averaged 27.7 points per game and has relished being the central figure once again. There are more players around him in the team to being the active runners than Cleveland. Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are in their early twenties. Javale McGee has also provided vital experience in the line-up, although Rajon Rondo’s injury problems have resurfaced robing the Lakers of another veteran option. There’s still work ahead of Luke Walton and the coaching staff to turn the team into a more consistent side, but they’re trending in the right direction.

Betting Options

The duel between LeBron and Curry will be the headline event on Christmas Day. LeBron was forced to battle Curry along with Durant and Thompson more or less on his own in Cleveland after the departure of Kyrie Irving. If LeBron can outperform his main rival on the Warriors it may swing the balance in the contest – back him at +100  to achieve the feat at TopBet. Curry and LeBron will also be vying to be the top scorer on Christmas Day in the five matches in the NBA.

Given that Giannis Antetokounmpo is facing the New York Knicks it will be a difficult challenge, although Curry does have solid odds at TopBet at +130  to lead the way. Green’s behaviour on the court is a concern for the Warriors in the long run and he could be line for another suspension he act out again. Odds of +300  for him to be suspended between now and the end of the term are tempting at MyBookie.

Golden State have not been at the peak of their powers this term. However, the threat of LeBron should spark them into action on home soil. They’ve been dominant at Oracle Arena this term, back them to get over the line with a comfortable win on Christmas. Back Kerr’s side for the win at -380  with BetOnline, while the over on 235 total points to be scored at 10/11  with Betway is also a solid option to take on Christmas Day.

Tips Summary

Golden State Warriors To Beat Los Angeles Lakers
Tuesday 25th December 2018 20:00 ET (Wednesday 26th December 2018 01:00 GMT)
Odds: -380

Over 235 Total Points To Be Scored
Tuesday 25th December 2018 20:00 ET (Wednesday 26th December 2018 01:00 GMT)
Odds: 10/11

LeBron James To Outscore Steph Curry On Christmas Day
Tuesday 25th December 2018 20:00 ET (Wednesday 26th December 2018 01:00 GMT)
Odds: +100

Steph Curry To Score Most Points In NBA On Christmas Day
Tuesday 25th December 2018 20:00 ET (Wednesday 26th December 2018 01:00 GMT)
Odds: +130

  • Golden State Warriors
  • LeBron James
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • nba
  • Steph Curry

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.