NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 20th
(All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (49-18) at Cleveland Cavaliers (26-42), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to stay unbeaten on
this short road trip Thursday night when they visit Quicken Loans Arena to
face the Cleveland Cavaliers.
OKC opened its three-game swing with a 97-85 victory in Chicago over the Bulls
Monday night. The Thunder still have to visit the Toronto Raptors on Friday
before heading home.
The Thunder haven't been able to keep pace with the San Antonio Spurs for
Western Conference supremacy. San Antonio, which has won 11 straight, is now
two clear of Oklahoma City for the top seed.
Monday's victory marked the first time the Thunder held an opponent under 90
points since a Feb. 3 home victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder's
defense held Chicago to just 34.5 percent shooting, including a 5-for-22 mark
from behind the 3-point line.
"That's what it's about, inspiring your team on the defensive end and finding
ways to score together," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "They did that
throughout the game."
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting. He grabbed
12 rebounds, handed out five assists and didn't commit a single turnover. It
was his 32nd consecutive game with 25-plus points, which is the longest run of
his career and the longest in the NBA since Michael Jordan strung 40 straight
together during the 1986-87 season.
Russell Westbrook, who sat out Sunday's 23-point loss to the Mavericks, netted
17 points and was one rebound and one assist away from a triple-double, while
Serge Ibaka checked in with 15 points for the victors.
Caron Butler (12) and Reggie Jackson (11) also scored in double figures for
The Cavs have dropped two straight and no one would criticize losses to the
Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat, especially since most of the time, they
were without All-Star MVP Kyrie Irving.
He went down in the first quarter of the Clippers loss with a biceps injury
and will be sidelined for two weeks.
Irving's teammates battled the Heat on Tuesday in Cleveland but came up short
in a 100-96 setback. LeBron James torched his former team for 43 points,
including 25 in the first quarter.
Jarrett Jack led the way for Cleveland with 22 points. Dion Waiters provided
17 points and 11 assists for the Cavs, who have dropped six of their last
Anderson Varejao registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Alonzo Gee (12), Spencer Hawes (11) and Tristan Thompson (10) also scored in
double digits for a Cleveland team which shot 51 percent from the floor.
"Our guys hung in there and they competed," Cleveland head coach Mike Brown
The Cavs beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Feb. 26 and have taken three of
the last four meetings. Cleveland is 6-1 in its last seven as the host in this
03/20 10:27:44 ET