***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
Thursday, February 26
(All times Eastern)
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (44-10) AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (36-22), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers face a stern
test Thursday versus the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena in what
could be a possible NBA Finals preview.
The Cavaliers are playing solid basketball of late with 17 wins in the last 19
tries and completed a four-game road trip with a 102-93 victory over the
Detroit Pistons Tuesday at The Palace.
Cleveland, which is tied with Chicago atop the Central Division, was led by
Kevin Love's 24 points and nine rebounds. James scored 19 points and handed
out 11 assists, while Kyrie Irving added 18 points. The Cavs took advantage of
15 Detroit turnovers and converted them into 25 points.
"Kevin had it going tonight, so I was looking to get him the ball," James
The Pistons were held to just 31 points in the second half and blew a 14-point
lead over the final two quarters.
Cleveland has won nine straight games over Western Conference opponents and is
unbeaten in the last 10 games at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs, who have
outscored opponents by an average of 15.2 points during the home winning
streak, have won 15 in a row when posting at least 100 points and are 21-9 at
The Cavaliers are 17-0 when reaching 100 points at the Q.
After hosting the Warriors, the Cavs will visit Indiana and Houston.
Golden State will resume its six-game road trip (1-1) and is coming off a
114-107 victory over the slumping Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
Stephen Curry scored 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting and returned to the floor
after missing a game with a foot problem.
"It was kinda nice having Steph back. He was brilliant," Warriors coach Steve
Klay Thompson added 17 for the Warriors, winners in eight of their last 10
games. The Warriors shot 50 percent from the floor and held on despite losing
the rebounding battle by the tune of 45-29.
The Warriors, who have a 17-3 mark against the East, are a league-best 20-8 on
the road and will also visit Toronto, Boston and Brooklyn on this junket.
Golden State defeated Cleveland, 112-94, on Jan. 9 at Oracle Arena, as
Thompson and Curry scored 24 and 23 points, respectively. J.R. Smith led the
Cavs with 27 points in that one and James was inactive.
The Warriors have won seven of the last eight games in this series and are
unbeaten in the past four trips to the Forest City.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (32-25) AT PHOENIX SUNS (30-28), 10:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - With or without All-Star Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City
Thunder are rolling.
The Thunder shoot for their eighth consecutive victory Thursday against the
Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center and will start a three-game road trip in the
Valley of the Sun. Oklahoma City will also visit Portland and the LA Lakers
and is 13-17 away from home.
Oklahoma City has won three in a row on the road and recorded a 105-92 victory
over the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night. Russell Westbrook recorded his 11th
career triple-double before the fourth quarter and posted 20 points, 11
rebounds and 10 assists. He has three triple-doubles this season.
"We know teams are going to make runs. We did a great job of sticking
together," said Westbrook.
Serge Ibaka supplied 23 points with 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Enes
Kanter added 15 points with five rebounds for Oklahoma City, which matched a
season-high seven-game winning streak and used a 12-1 run at the end of the
third quarter and a 9-0 burst to start the fourth to break the game open.
The Thunder had a 57-48 rebounding advantage and shot 41.7 percent.
Durant, of course, is sidelined with a balky foot.
Phoenix ended a five-game slide with Wednesday's 110-96 victory over the
Denver Nuggets, as Brandon Knight scored 19 points with six assists. Eric
Bledsoe had 18 points and handed out six assists, while Gerald Green tallied
15 points off the bench for the Suns.
"Being comfortable is going to take time," Knight said of his new team. "It's
all new. It's all coming so quickly. It'll take time."
The Suns won for just the second time in the last 10 games. Phoenix had a
season-high 65 rebounds and is 16-12 at home.
Phoenix is 2 1/2 games behind Oklahoma City for a playoff spot in the West and
lost the first two meetings with the Thunder this season. Those games were
played in Oklahoma City.
The Suns and Thunder will meet again March 29 in the desert. OKC has won 13 of
the last 15 games in this series.
02/26 10:41:58 ET