It was a dominant performance from Oklahoma City, as the Thunder destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers 148-124. It is the second-most points ever scored by the Thunder in a game, where they once scored 149 in a double-overtime game. It also tied the most points the Cavs have ever given up in regulation. Oklahoma City is now 26-20 on the season.
The Thunder got out to an early lead, thanks to Steven Adams, and never looked back. They started the game on a 8-0 run as the Cavaliers had no answers defensively. By the beginning of the second quarter, Thunder had put up 43 points and gotten out to a 19-point lead.
Paul George also got out to a hot start, putting up 13 points in the first quarter. He hit three three-pointers in the opening period, and hit five total on the night. Him and Adams both were in double-digit scoring before the first quarter had ended.
Carmelo Anthony and Westbrook also got in on the fun, doing whatever they wanted offensively. This game even brought out some booing from the Cleveland home crowd, as they were not happy with the Cavs lack of effort, especially defensively.
The Cavaliers body language was pretty poor all game, and even when Cleveland had a couple runs, they still did not seem interested. Oklahoma City, though, did a good job of responding to each run and keeping the crowd out of the game.
A big part in this game came in the middle of the third quarter when LeBron got the Cavaliers back within striking distance. It felt like Oklahoma City was about to have one of their third quarter meltdowns, but the Thunder’s big four was having none of that. They quickly responded with a quick 8-0 run and got the lead back to twenty.
Really nothing could go wrong for the Thunder today. As a team, they shot 58 percent from the floor, 47 percent from deep, while holding the Cavaliers to just 27 percent from deep.
The Thunder dominated the glass, as Steven Adams was just better than anything Cleveland had. Oklahoma City pulled down 16 offensive boards, five of those coming from Adams.
Steven Adams continues to be a huge lift to this team, finishing with 25 points, missing just one shot from the field, along with ten rebounds.
Thunder’s big four combined for 113 points, 36 rebounds, and 26 assists. It was probably the best all around game from Oklahoma City’s four stars. Westbrook was at his best, putting up 23 points, nine rebounds and 20 assists, his second 20-assist game of his career.
Carmelo continued to embrace his stretch-four role as he put up 29 points, getting wide-open mid-range jumpers and also hitting the three.
Paul George was probably the most impressive today, as any shot he put up seemingly went in. He had 25 points at halftime, and finished 36 points along with seven rebounds.
As this season has been quite the roller coaster for this Oklahoma City squad, they have absolutely shown up against NBA’s best. They are now a combined 3-0 against the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland Cavaliers. If you add Boston and San Antonio to that, that makes Oklahoma City 4-2 against those five very good teams.
For all the criticisms Oklahoma City has seen with the roster they have, it is huge to see how they have fared against the NBA’s best. Thunder have shown they can beat anyone with their talent and their hard-nosed defense.
After today’s big game, Oklahoma City will head home and play a very poor Brooklyn Nets team. It will be interesting to watch though, as the Thunder have been known to play down to their opponents talent level. Oklahoma City will be looking to increase their win streak to five in a row.
Keys To The Game:
Third quarter: A
This was a pivotal quarter, as Oklahoma City came out fast in the second half and set the tone. But Cleveland made their run, and the Thunder were ready. After the lead got down to 12, Oklahoma City came out of the timeout and got the lead back to 20. The game was essentially over after that.
Free throws: D
Even if your best game, you have flaws. Free throw shooting was just that for Oklahoma City. They shot just 64 percent from the charity stripe. If this game had been close, that stat could have easily killed the Thunder.
Thunder were monsters on the glass, particularly Steven Adams who continues to play like an All-Star. Thunder out-rebounded the Cavs by 24, and by 13 on the offensive glass. It was a total massacre down low by the Thunder.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!