Thunder 94, Timberwolves 92...
Thunder-Timberwolves, Box...
Wolves' Love, Thunder's Collis...
ROSTER REPORT 2010-01-20...
NOTES, QUOTES 2010-01-20...
Thunder-Timberwolves Preview 2...
Presented By: 2010-01-19...
ROSTER REPORT 2010-01-19...
NOTES, QUOTES 2010-01-19...
Thunder's blueprint to success...
Links to possible OKC team log...
Howard Schultz drops Sonics su...
OKC signs Kyle Weaver...
OKC team announces basketball ...
Web viewing of NBA games may s...
Steve
Steve
Steve
Steve
Brand has surgury
Brand has surgury
Brand has surgury
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
 
 
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live
News » Cavaliers-Thunder Preview 2009-12-12


Cavaliers-Thunder Preview 2009-12-12


Cavaliers-Thunder Preview 2009-12-12Over the past few seasons, the Oklahoma City Thunder were a bit of a pushover. LeBron James realizes that's not the case anymore.

Hoping to carry some momentum from Cleveland's latest win, James knows the Cavaliers will be tested Sunday night against a strong Thunder team led by Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City finished last in the Northwest Division in each of the last three seasons, and its 74-172 record over that span was the second-worst in the NBA. Like most opponents, the Cavaliers had little trouble beating the Thunder in 2008-09, winning both meetings by an average of 23.0 points.

This season is shaping up to be quite different.

Behind Durant's 28.3 points per game and the play of Russell Westbrook at the point, the Thunder (12-9) have emerged as a potential playoff contender.

In Friday's 102-94 win over Memphis, Durant finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds, while Westbrook added 23 points and seven assists in Oklahoma City's third victory in four games. Durant, who has led the Thunder in scoring in 18 of the 21 games, is averaging 32.3 points in the last four.

"My teammates do a great job of encouraging me and getting me the ball, and I just try to finish for them," Durant said.

The Thunder are three games over .500 for the first time since 2004-05, when the team was based in Seattle and finished 52-30. Oklahoma City, the second-youngest team in the NBA, has reached 12 wins after needing 50 games to accomplish that feat last season.

"They have a very, very good young (group) of basketball players that love to play the game of basketball," James said. "We are looking forward to the challenge. It is going to be a good road test for us against a young, explosive team in their home building, and we have to come out with the same fire we did in the second half (Friday)."

The Cavs (16-7) played an uninspired first half Friday and went into the locker room trailing Portland 54-45. At the break, coach Mike Brown laid into his players, and they responded with an intense final 24 minutes to beat the Trail Blazers 104-99.

"Our will in the second half, led by LeBron James, has to become habit for us," Brown said. "It has to be our identity for 48 minutes. That's something that myself and LeBron need to capture."

James finished with 33 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and made an incredible block on a Brandon Roy jump shot with 24 seconds left and the Cavs leading by five.

Shaquille O'Neal helped spur the second-half surge, scoring nine of his 14 points in the third quarter. He wasn't around for the end of the game after being poked in the left eye by Portland's Joel Przybilla with 2:47 remaining in the third, causing it to bruise.

O'Neal was taken to the Cleveland Clinic for precautionary tests and is expected to travel with the team to Oklahoma City.

If O'Neal can't play, the Cavs - 5-1 without the 15-time All-Star center - would likely need Anderson Varejao to step into a larger role. Varejao, averaging 8.0 points and 8.1 rebounds, had a season-high 22 points with 10 boards Friday.


Play Basketball Hot Streak and win prizes!

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 12, 2009

 

 
Copyright © Sonicshome.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.