Irving fights rust

Cleveland featured its full team Friday in the NBA’s marquee Christmas Day game, an 89-83 loss at Golden State. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving played in his third game after six months away injured.

He started 1-for-6 from the field and finished with 13 points on 4-for-15 shooting in 26 measured minutes.

“I’ve started plenty of games 1-for-6, but obviously this one was a little bit different,” Irving told Fox Sports Ohio after the game. “Just knocking off the rust, a lot of emotion built into this game.”

Golden State improved to 28-1 in winning the rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.

Latest greatest Spur

Whilst San Antonio’s Big Three — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — play on into the twilight of their careers, teammate Kawhi Leonard has emerged as the Spurs’ new All-Star and best player.

The Timberwolves head to San Antonio for Monday’s rematch after Wednesday’s lopsided loss at Target Center.

“He’s an amazing defender, and now he’s turning into the same kind of player on the offensive end,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “So he’s a pretty special young man.”

In a big shadow

Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns was offered condolences after last week’s victory in Brooklyn, which came fewer than 24 hours after Towns’ former University of Kentucky team had been upset by Ohio State on the same Barclays Center floor.

This season’s UK team has started the season 9-2.

“I didn’t know there was a death,” Towns said. “They all have to go through a process. I think the worst thing that happened to this year’s team was last year’s team, how much pressure we put on them because of what we were able to accomplish.”