OAKLAND, Calif. -- Klay Thompson broke a late tie with a 3-pointer and Kevin Durant protected the lead with two key defensive plays on LeBron James to lift the Golden State Warriors to a 99-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA's marquee matchup on Christmas Day.
Neither team led by more than nine points in the tightly contested rematch of last spring's NBA Finals, which the Warriors won in five games.
After the Cavaliers had rallied from a 90-81 deficit, their largest of the game, into a 92-all tie, Warriors rookie Jordan Bell rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Durant. Bell got the ball to Draymond Green, who in turn found Thompson open on the left side for his fourth 3-pointer of the game and a 95-92 lead with 1:33 to go.
James went one-one one on Durant on Cleveland's next two possessions, each time with a chance to narrow the gap to one point.
But the Cavaliers star, under heavy pressure from Durant, first fumbled the ball out of bounds with 1:10 to go, and then, after two Warriors misses, had a driving attempt blocked by Durant, with the ball going out of bounds with 24.5 seconds to go.
The ball was initially awarded back to the Cavaliers, but the referees reversed themselves after a video review, giving the Warriors an opportunity to ice the game at the free throw line.
Thompson did just that, hitting four straight in the final 18.9 seconds to secure Golden State's 12th win in its last 13 games and second Christmas victory over the Cavaliers in the last three years.
Durant, despite just 8-for-19 shooting, had 25 points to pace the Warriors, who have won six of their last seven at home against the Cavaliers.
Thompson totaled 24 points and Green recorded a 12-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist triple-double for Golden State, which improved to 8-1 without injured Stephen Curry.
Kevin Love had a game-high 31 points and 18 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who were opening a three-game Western swing.
James was held to 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting. Jae Crowder added 15 points and Dwyane Wade 13.
The Warriors outshot the Cavaliers 46.3 percent to 31.8.
Neither team had led by more than seven points before the Warriors used a 9-2 burst to build a 90-81 advantage with 6:19 to go in the game.
Shaun Livingston and Durant triggered the run with consecutive dunks. Durant capped it with a 3-pointer.
But true to the competitiveness of the entire night, the Cavaliers countered immediately. Love hit a 3-pointer to ignite an 11-2 run that forged a 92-all tie with 1:59 to go and set up the exciting finish.
The Warriors overcame 11 turnovers to take a 46-44 lead into halftime. Thompson (13 points, 3-for-5 on 3's) and Durant (14 points, 2-for-4 on 3's) had combined for 27 points at that stage.
The Cavaliers shot just 28.6 percent in the half, including 3-for-24 (13 percent) in the second quarter. Love (11 points, 11 rebounds) already had recorded his double-double.
NOTES: The triple-double was Warriors PG Draymond Green's second straight in the regular season against the Cavaliers, having recorded one in last year's second meeting in Cleveland. Green averaged a double-double (11.0 points, 10.2 rebounds) against the Cavaliers in last year's Finals. ... The Cavaliers had a 15-10 edge in 3-pointers over the Warriors. For Cleveland, it was a franchise-record 23rd straight game with 10 or more 3's. ... Neither team is off to as fast of a start as last season. When the clubs met on Christmas last year, the Warriors were 27-4, the Cavaliers 22-6. ... The last time the NBA scheduled the same matchup on Christmas three years in a row: Lakers vs. Heat, 2004-06.