The much awaited Christmas Day game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers is fast approaching. Last Thursday, December 21, Coach Steve Kerr, Klay Thompson, David West and Zaza Pachulia talked to the media in a session arranged by the NBA to share their thoughts on the anticipated clash.
Q: Kevin Durant has been so effective on the defensive end. What has evolved in him in his time with the Warriors, and what do you expect from the matchup on Christmas against the Cavaliers?
“Kevin has been really good defensively this year, blocking a lot of shots. He’s just using his length and his athleticism and playing with good energy, so that’s the main thing. He’s going to be having a really fun matchup on Christmas Day with LeBron, and that’s always one of the best matchups to watch every year in the NBA.” — Coach Steve Kerr
Q: I wonder what it’s like playing as a player on Christmas Day. Do you get to see your families, and how do you go about preparing for that?
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s an honor to play on Christmas Day because the NBA, if they schedule you, it means you’re doing something right. There are so many families and kids watching around the country. I remember watching as a kid, and to be a part of it as an adult is a much better experience. It’s just so fun doing what you love on a beautiful holiday.” — Klay Thompson
Q: As you prepare for the Christmas game against the Cavaliers, what kind of challenge do they bring?
“Well, obviously, LeBron is the head of the snake. We have to do what we can to limit him and make sure he sees multiple bodies and he doesn’t feel like he’s playing one-on-one basketball, because he’s a great player. Their role guys have sort of figured things out. They went on a crazy win streak that ended two weeks ago, but yeah, they’re playing some good basketball.”
Q: I wanted to know does playing the Cavaliers on Christmas Day for the third year in a row make it a special game in terms of intensity and creating a rivalry?
“Obviously playing against the Cavs, it’s even more special because the teams faced each other a couple times in a row in The Finals now.
It’s going to be pretty interesting, a pretty intense game, a lot of attention, and especially since one team is from the East and the other team is from the West, so it’s only [one of two matchups in the regular season]. We’re really looking forward to it, but at the same time, we understand that we have two more games until that game, and win or lose, it’s not the end of the world. We had the experience last year where we lost [on Christmas Day at Cleveland] by just one point, but then we ended up winning the championship.
This game doesn’t kind of decide anything, but at the same time, of course we would love to win. We’re going to do our best to win because it’s for our confidence and it’s for our fans and for our city, and again, understanding where we might face the same [team] in The Finals this year.” — Zaza Pachulia