LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t have the easiest of time against the New York Knicks, but the relatively new notion of having the entire roster available with no injuries getting in the way is spreading some optimism and maybe even holiday cheer among the players.

The Cavs beat the Knicks 91-84 behind 24 points from LeBron James and 23 from Kevin Love. The Christmas day meeting with the Golden State Warriors is obviously a source of much focus, but falls back to the issue of being healthy throughout the season. The Warriors didn’t miss anyone when they faced the Cavaliers in the finals six months ago. The Cavs were playing without both Kyrie Irving (was there for game 1) and Kevin Love.

The Warriors have had their minor injury issues this season, but nothing too serious. A game or two without Klay Thompson, a few without Harrison Barnes. All in all, it’s been business as usual for the NBA champions, who still have just one loss to their name after 28 games. It’s not just about being healthy, they’re simply better than everyone else at this point. The Cavaliers, the best in the East, can only aspire to reach that level when the time is right.

It was a great feeling today. We was in the tunnel before we ran out and for the first time fully healthy. I cannot remember, and I can remember everything; I cannot remember the last time I looked in the huddle and we had everyone in uniform. That was a pretty good feeling. It’s big for us because it’s a starting point. We’ve assembled a very good team. A lot of depth. A lot of talent. But we haven’t been whole. So we’ve just been playing ball. But now that we’re whole, it’s finally here, as we say. Now we have to find our true identity. We’ve been waiting for this.

The Cavaliers will probably have an excuse or two ready for if and when they lose to the Warriors on Christmas. Something about not being all of them together for as long as the Warriors have been, or something along that line. There will be some truth to that, but it’ll be perceived as whining, and looking for the easy way out. Right now, for more than just the reason of health and avoiding injuries, the Warriors are a better basketball team. When you take into account how Stephen Curry has been playing this season, the Cavs might no longer have the best player on the floor when the two teams meet up.

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