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News » Smooth sailing through Thunder

Smooth sailing through Thunder

Smooth sailing through Thunder

Cavaliers 117

Thunder 82

Most teams go through some sort of hot streak during the course of a season, but the depth of domination the Cavaliers are displaying these days is getting historic.

It's not just that they are winning or are blowing out team after team, but they are excelling in nearly every phase of the game. The latest smashing came Wednesday against the woeful Oklahoma City Thunder, this one resulting in a 117-82 beat-down.

Winners of 12 of their past 13 games, the Cavs (12-3) are officially off to the best start to a season in team history. But, again, just listing the wins doesn't do the recent performances justice.

The Cavs rank in the top five in the NBA in five major offensive and five major defensive rankings. They are scoring the fourth-most points, and holding teams to the sixth-worst shooting percentage. They have six consecutive victories of 11 points or more.

Since they had their eight-game winning streak broken in Detroit last week, the Cavs haven't even trailed for a second in the new three-game winning streak.

"We have been putting the whole game together and that is exciting to see," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "We're further along on both sides of the ball than we've been since I've been here."

Tuesday in New York, the Cavs had a 32-point lead at one point. Wednesday, they briefly got up by 42 on the Thunder (1-15). So these aren't exactly two of the best teams in the league, both are in transition. The Knicks with new players and the Thunder with a new coach.

Oklahoma City also had the disadvantage of a West-to-East back-to-back. They lost an hour in flight from Oklahoma and didn't get to Cleveland until nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday. Most of the Cavs, who had flown in from New York themselves, were already at home.

Despite those circumstances, the way the Cavs are taking teams apart speaks volumes. LeBron James needed to play just 17 minutes, scoring 14 points, in the win. Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 17 points in less than 14 minutes. Even seldom-used Tarence Kinsey was prolific, he scored 11 points in less than 10 minutes on the floor.

It even reached this level: Tuesday, the Cavs had four bench players score more than 10 points for the first time in more than seven years - Wednesday, they did it again.

That's just the tip, though. Considering the following:

The Cavs led by 34 points at halftime, setting a franchise record, breaking the old record of 32 from 2001.

They shot 61 percent from the field in the game, the first time they'd shot better than 60 percent in a game since March 21, 1996, against the Houston Rockets. They've shot better than 50 percent in three consecutive games for the first time in three seasons.

For the second night in a row, all 12 Cavs scored, which hadn't happened since December 1991.

In the past two games, the Cavs' bench has scored 122 points with 68 of them coming Wednesday.

The club scored 60 or more points in the first half of back-to-back games for the first time in two years.

The 35-point win was the biggest ever in 93 games against the Seattle/Oklahoma City franchise.

"It just goes to show how well equipped this team is, how focused we are night in and night out," guard Mo Williams said. "Even the rookies have come in and played really well."

That includes J.J. Hickson, who scored 14 points, pulled down six rebounds and blocked four shots in his most extended playing time of the season. Fellow rookie Darnell Jackson had four points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.

The Thunder, now losers of 13 consecutive games, were held to just 35 percent shooting and were led by Chris Wilcox's 14 points. Their lone star, Kevin Durant, scored 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

"We are all out there laughing and smiling and it kind of takes you back to your college days," said Daniel Gibson, who had 15 points. "Everybody has been playing well and having fun."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-5166


Bold wine and gold

The Cavs (12-3) are off to the best start in their 39-year history, and this season's team is the sixth to win at least 10 of its first 15 games. Here's a look at those teams and how their season ended:




Season 15 gms.






Rd. 1 playoffs




Rd. 1 playoffs




Rd. 1 playoffs




No playoffs




Conf. semis



Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 29, 2008


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