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News » Hand it to the Cavs


Hand it to the Cavs


Hand it to the Cavs
Cavaliers 102 Thunder 91

Oklahoma City - It was a much different Thunder team that showed up to play the Cavaliers on Sunday than the hardscrabble club that got leveled last month in Cleveland.

It was, however, the same Cavs team, including guard Daniel Gibson, so it ultimately led to the same result.

The Thunder has the worst record in the NBA, but it didn't play like it this time around as the Cavs had to fight to earn the 102-91 victory. It ran the latest

winning streak to three and completed the four-game road trip at 3-1.

Overall, the Cavs (23-4) have won 14 of their past 15 games and now find themselves eight games up on the Detroit Pistons in the Central Division.

Under interim coach Scott Brooks, who had just taken over when the Thunder (3-25) looked inept in a 35-point loss at The Q on Nov. 26, the team has started playing much harder and with more focus. It showed Friday when Oklahoma City upset the Toronto Raptors at home and showed again against the Cavs.

The sellout crowd at the Ford Center on Sunday was raucous, and the Thunder gave them plenty to cheer about, keeping it tight for three quarters. The Cavs had to play well to get the job done, especially on offense as they shot 55 percent.

LeBron James made his bid for yet another Player of the Week Award, finishing with 31 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

He's scored 30 or more points in four consecutive games and during the three road wins averaged 32 points, 6.7 rebounds, six assists and shot 64 percent (41-of-64), including 14-of-24 Sunday.

James threw down four dunks and picked his friend Kevin Durant's pocket twice for breakaway slams.

"We had to refocus [after the loss to Atlanta last week], and this was a great trip for us," James said. "Young teams feed off the crowd and the crowd was into it. They stuck in there and played hard."

Cavs guard Delonte West is suddenly hot again - he made 8 of 12 shots on his way to 18 points. Over the past three games, he's averaged 20.3 points and shot 61 percent. Like Friday in Denver, West did it with his outside shot as he helped the Cavs go 9-of-17 on 3-pointers.

Guard Mo Williams also played well, putting up 20 points with four assists. He was especially effective in getting the offense out and running as he led the Cavs to 20 fast-break points, their most in seven games.

"We want to try to run off our defense as much as we can," Williams said. "We did get out and get some easy baskets and got going a little bit."

Defense was a challenge at times for the Cavs. The Thunder has learned to take advantage of its size advantages, especially with 6-10 Durant on the wing. Rookie Russell Westbrook has taken over as the starting point guard and also is playing well.

The Cavs got caught in some awkward matchups after switching on pick-and-rolls. On a couple of occasions, Gibson - back after missing five games with a sprained toe - ended up guarding Durant in the post. But Gibson, who had six points in his return, held his own.

Durant ended up with 26 points, Westbrook was effective shooting and getting to the foul line as he put up 24 points, and forward Jeff Green had 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Thunder outrebounded the Cavs, 41-32.

Until the Cavs tightened their defense in the fourth quarter, when the Thunder shot just 28 percent, it was a fair fight.

"I thought our guys stayed focused and poised in finding a way to win," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "The Thunder are young, and their confidence is starting to show."

Cavaliers 102, Thunder 91

Weathrspn Min 50-00 50-00 10-10 A PF Pts

Cleveland Min

FG-A

FT-A

Reb

A

PF

Pts

James

42:46

14-24

1-2

2-4

7

1

31

Wallace

29:09

3-5

0-2

1-6

0

1

6

Ilgauskas

27:55

2-6

0-0

0-2

3

1

4

MWilliams

32:46

8-14

2-2

1-5

4

4

20

West

33:58

8-12

0-0

1-2

4

3

18

Szczerbiak

22:20

2-4

2-2

0-4

1

0

7

Varejao

18:39

0-3

3-4

1-6

0

4

3

Pavlovic

14:28

2-3

0-0

1-2

2

1

5

Gibson

16:05

2-4

1-3

0-1

0

0

6

Kinsey

0:38

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Hickson

0:38

1-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

2

Jackson

0:38

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Totals

240

42-76

9-15

7-32

21

16

102

Percentages: FG .553, FT .600. 3-Point Goals: 9-17, .529 (West 2-3, M.Williams 2-3, James 2-4, Pavlovic 1-1, Gibson 1-3, Szczerbiak 1-3). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 12 (15 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (James, Varejao, West). Turnovers: 11 (James 3, Ilgauskas 2, M.Williams 2, Pavlovic, Szczerbiak, Varejao, Wallace). Steals: 11 (James 3, M.Williams 3, West 2, Pavlovic, Varejao, Wallace). Technical Fouls: Ilgauskas, 4:57 third; Wallace, 4:02 fourth; Gibson, 2:02 fourth.

Okla. City Min

FG-A

FT-A

Reb

A

PF

Pts

Durant

43:09

9-17

6-8

0-5

1

2

26

Green

35:40

7-15

0-0

4-10

1

2

16

Collison

27:41

5-5

0-0

2-6

1

1

10

Westbrook

40:03

7-16

8-9

2-6

11

2

24

Mason

32:08

1-5

0-2

1-3

2

3

2

Smith

22:46

3-12

0-0

4-5

3

4

6

Watson

17:50

1-3

0-0

0-1

2

1

2

Wilkins

13:54

2-5

0-0

0-1

0

0

5

Wilcox

6:49

0-1

0-0

1-4

0

0

0

Totals

240

35-79

14-19

14-41

21

15

91

Percentages: FG .443, FT .737. 3-Point Goals: 7-15, .467 (Durant 2-3, Westbrook 2-3, Green 2-7, Wilkins 1-2). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 16 (20 PTS). Blocked Shots: 1 (Mason). Turnovers: 16 (Westbrook 5, Durant 4, Green 2, Mason 2, Wilkins 2, Collison). Steals: 5 (Durant 2, Collison, Green, Wilkins). Technical Fouls: Mason, 2:02 fourth.

Weathrspn 00000000-000

xb>

Cleveland 27

25

30

20

-

102

Okla. City 25

22

25

19

-

91

A: 19,136. T: 2:05. Refs: McCutchen, Blair, Poole.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 24, 2008

 

 
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