NBA: Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr won't risk Stephen Curry for Cleveland Cavaliers matchup

Golden State coach Steve Kerr reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Golden State coach Steve Kerr won't let the hype surrounding the Warriors' Christmas Day clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers influence a decision on whether injured guard Stephen Curry is ready to return.

"The guy hasn't even had a three-on-three game, right?" Kerr told reporters on Saturday (Dec 23) as the reigning NBA (National Basketball Association) champions Warriors prepared to face the Denver Nuggets.

"So if we weren't playing Cleveland on Christmas and I told you Steph hasn't played in a three-on-three game, hasn't had any contact at all and the game is 48 hours from now, you'd say, 'Oh, Steph's not going to play.'

"But because of the magnitude of the game, everybody wants to know. But we can't let that affect our judgement.

"He can't play. That would be completely irresponsible if he did," Kerr said.

The Warriors and Cavs has faced off in the past three NBA Finals, with the Warriors triumphing in 2015 and 2017. The Cavs won in a seven-game thriller in 2016.

The showdown between the elite foes highlights the NBA's five-game Christmas Day slate, which also features Eastern Conference leaders the Boston Celtics hosting the Washington Wizards and Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder hosting James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

With a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday - their 11th straight triumph - Golden State edged ahead of the Rockets atop the Western Conference.

They are streaking into the holiday meeting with the Cavs despite the absence of two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Curry, who is still recovering from a sprained right ankle suffered on Dec 4.