On Christmas Day, the Golden State Warriors showed they still have the number of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the defending NBA champions defeated their NBA Finals nemesis, 89-83 in a defensive battle on Friday (Saturday in Australia).

There was no scoring explosion from the Warriors’ primary scorers in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who settled for 19 and 18 points, respectively, and who shot just a combined 12-of-31 field goals for the night. But it ultimately didn’t matter as the Warriors’ defence showed James and the Cavs that they could get a win at home, even without their feared offence working.

With the “Splash Brothers” struggling for points, it was Draymond Green who top-scored for his team with 22 points and added 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocked shots for the Warriors, who remained undefeated at home this season at 14-0.

The Warriors opened the game at 28-19 after the first quarter but the Cavaliers stormed back in the second quarter outscoring Golden State, 23-17. Golden State had a slim 64-59 advantage after three quarters but neither team had any offensive rhythm in the final quarter.

Cleveland was held down to 31.6 per cent shooting overall, or 30-of-95 field goals and 16.7 per cent three-point shooting, or 5-of-30 from behind the arc. The Cavaliers actually outrebounded the Warriors, 55-49 and had fewer turnovers, 11-16 in the teams’ first match-up since Golden State won the NBA title in six games last June.

Shaun Livingston came off the bench to score 16 points on 8-of-9 field goals-- easily the only one among all players who had a great shooting night on Christmas.

Golden State’s shooting percentage wasn’t any better, shooting 41.0 per cent from the field (32-of-78 FGs) and 27.9 per cent from three (5-of-18 3FGs) but they championship-level defence that put the shackles on the Cavaliers’ key players.

The Cavaliers’ “Big Three” of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combined to shoot just 19-of-59, or 32.3 per cent from the field. James had 25 points and 9 rebounds while Irving and Love had 13 and 10 points, respectively. The latter two also combined to shoot blanks from behind the arc, going 0-of-11 from the three-point line.

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