LeBron James drove to the basket in the waning seconds and Kevin Durant swatted away any chance Cleveland had at a Christmas Day comeback.
Durant pumped his fist again and again, emphatically shook his head and pounded his chest in delight. It looked a lot like the dominant Durant from the NBA Finals six months ago.
Klay Thompson hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:33 left, Durant delivered on both ends of the floor, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Cavaliers 99-92 this morning in a festive holiday rematch of the past three Finals.
"There's just so much joy in the arena today because it's Christmas and we all feed off of that," Durant said.
Durant's block against a driving James with 24.5 seconds left went to official review and was ruled clean. Durant finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
"He's one of the leaders in shot blocks a game and obviously he had five tonight, so he's been doing a heck of a job of first of all taking the individual matchup and protecting the rim, too," James said.
Kevin Love had 31 points and a season-best 18 rebounds, while James contributed 20 points, six rebounds and six assists in a rivalry missing one key piece: Warriors star Stephen Curry, who missed his eighth straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Thompson scored 24 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. It was Golden State's 12th win in 13 games after its 11-game winning streak was snapped by Denver on Saturday night.
Warriors rookie Jordan Bell traveled with 2:13 left and James tied it. Bell made up for that mistake with a key offensive rebound and pass to Thompson for his fourth 3.
James' 3-pointer with 10:39 left pulled Cleveland within one, but Green answered with a 3 and Andre Iguodala scored two of his nine points the next time down. In another key sequence, Durant blocked Tristan Thompson's shot with 6:23 to go and dunked moments later.
No surprise, the up-tempo, running rivals provided high entertainment once again. The Warriors last June captured a second championship in three years against James and the Cavaliers.
"I forgot all about it," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said with a chuckle.
The teams will see each other again soon, playing Jan. 15 in Cleveland.
KD requested James for his defensive assignment, to which he explained simply, "I just like guarding my position."
The Cavs, having won six of seven and playing for the first time since Thursday, had their run of scoring at least 100 points end at 26 games.
The Warriors were at nearly full strength again aside from Curry, who could return this week once he goes through some scrimmages at practice.
Center Zaza Pachulia was available but didn't play after sitting out seven consecutive games, while Shaun Livingston came back after missing four games with a sore right knee.
Bell — who addressed the sellout crowd at midcourt moments before tipoff — started at center and had eight points and six rebounds.