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News » Thunder-Cavaliers Preview

Thunder-Cavaliers Preview

Thunder-Cavaliers Preview
In the midst of all the rumors regarding LeBron James' future in New York, the 23-year-old superstar managed to remain focused and lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an easy win at Madison Square Garden his last time out.

There won't be such distractions for James on Wednesday when the Oklahoma City Thunder come to Cleveland.

James looks to lead the surging Cavaliers to their 11th win in 12 games when they host the Thunder, who are trying to avoid losing their 13th in a row.

On Friday, the Knicks made a pair of trades that freed up salary cap space for a potential run at James in the summer of 2010. Before the Cavs' game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, James fielded questions from some 50 media members and more than a half-dozen TV cameras in pregame press that resembled that of an NBA finals game. He answered questions about becoming a free agent and his possible suitors, but wanted to remain focused on his current season with Cleveland (11-3).

"I am flattered (by) the rumors going around that they would love me to be part of their team. I can't sit up here and say I'm not flattered by that or like the fact that it's happening," James said. "But right now I'm with the Cavs."

James then went out and scored 11 first-quarter points in leading Cleveland to a 34-22 advantage. The four-time All-Star scored 26 points in a season-low 30 minutes, as he sat out the fourth quarter in the 119-101 victory.

Cleveland had a season high in points and shot 52.7 percent from the floor Tuesday, as it won for the 10th time in its last 11 games.

"We hear it every day, we see it every day on TV about 2010 all the time, we still go out and take care of business," James said. "We don't worry about what's going on. Me the leader, I can't let that faze me because I'm leading these guys onto something that we want to accomplish, and that's win an NBA championship."

While James is trying to lead Cleveland to its first title, Oklahoma City (1-14) is primarily concerned with winning a game.

The Thunder, who are unlikely to be one of the teams pursuing James in 2010, are in the midst of their longest losing streak since Seattle dropped a franchise-worst 14 straight games last season from Dec. 31-Jan. 27.

Tuesday's 99-98 loss to Phoenix was especially disappointing, as Oklahoma City squandered a 16-point lead with 1:39 left in the third quarter to drop its 12th straight. The Thunder have at least been competitive in the two games Scott Brooks has coached since P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

"We feel pretty good about where we're going. We just can't take any steps backward," forward Joe Smith said. "We've got to continue to improve, continue to move forward."

The Thunder split their two-game series with Cleveland last season, as Kevin Durant scored 24 points in each contest.

Cleveland has won its last three home games over the Oklahoma City franchise by an average of 21.6 points, and the Thunder have had no luck on the road this season.

Oklahoma City has been outscored by an average of 12.3 points in losing all six of its games away from the Ford Center. The club has not opened a season with seven straight road losses since the 1976-77 team opened with a franchise-worst 10 straight road defeats.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 26, 2008


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