Thunder Crushes The Cleveland Cavaliers
Nuggets from my notebook from Sunday’s 95-75 win at Cleveland.
- This one was never in doubt. From the start, it was clear that the Cavs were over-matched. And once Cleveland started missing shot after shot, the rout was on.
- The only cause for concern early was Ramon Session destroying Russell Westbrook, breaking him down and blowing by him off the dribble. Sessions was getting into the paint with ease.
- Enter Serge Ibaka. The big man had a big game, finishing two points and three blocks away from a triple double. It would have been nice to see from Ibaka in only his second season and just his 26th start. Instead, all he did was anchor the Thunder’s defense by swatting and altering just about everything that came his way.
- The blocks we know Ibaka can do. Did you see how he played defense at other times with his hands straight up rather than going for the highlight-reel swat? His length forced misses without him even having to jump. And even though he had five fouls, heady decisions like those should keep him out of foul trouble in the future.
- At some point, it seemed like the Cavs were going to start making shots. It never happened. They tied the Thunder’s opponent low for field goal percentage at 33.8 percent, which, well, they set back on Dec 12.
- If Ibaka gets a high-five for the defensive end, Russell Westbrook deserves one for his offensive efforts. Westbrook scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter. He had 12 straight Thunder points during a five minute stretch after working his way inside the paint whenever he wanted to. I loved what he said about how he helped the Thunder build a 19-point lead going into the fourth quarter. “Sometimes I feel the game is getting out of whack,” Westbrook said. “We took a 10-point lead and it kind of stayed that way for a long time and they were about to make a run. I just tried to step up and do what I can to get us going. I was just trying to compete, go out and win for my team.”
- Even better, here’s what Kevin Durant said about Westbrook’s big third quarter. ““The thing about it, he didn’t do it outside the offense,” Durant said. “He did everything within the offense and everybody still looked good.” Hmmm.
- Durant added this: “They (the Cavs) were talking a little bit over there. That’s one thing Russ really doesn’t like. It kind of ticks him off a little bit. He came and did his thing.”
- Cavs are lucky the NCAA Tournament field was announced tonight. Or else SportsCenter could have really made a mockery of their effort in this one. Missed dunks. Awful shooting. Air-balls. Numerous turnovers. Coach Byron Scott after the game questioning his players’ hearts. They had it all on display.
- It’s starting to feel a little weird seeing the Thunder not just take care of the teams they’re supposed to take care of, but also destroy them. Of the last five teams OKC has played that fall in that category — Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, the L.A. Clippers and Sacramento — the Thunder has won by an average margin of 21.4 points. There’s your latest sign of the strength of this team. Makes you wonder what’s in store Monday night at Washington.
- Good thing Durant and Westbrook were able to take the entire fourth quarter off. That’s always nice, especially with a back-to-back coming up.
- Nick Collison twisted his right ankle late in the third quarter. He said his ankle was sore after the game as he was treating it. His status is unclear for Monday.
- I asked Thunder coach Scott Brooks whether Kendrick Perkins will make his debut against the Wizards. Again, I got the “he’s day-to-day” treatment. I don’t know when the guy will play. In one breath, everyone will say he’s close. The next, they’ll say he’s day-to-day.
- James Harden had a nice all-around offensive attack going. He had the 3-ball working. He drove inside for some easy looks and some foul opportunities. And he played the role of playmaker brilliantly at times. Yet another nice game for Mr. Harden.
- Speaking of Harden, I can’t not mention Daniel Gibson’s attempt at the Harden special, that annoying leg kick. Gibson actually hit the deck pretty hard on his acting job. The ref looked like he didn’t even care.
- All day in Cleveland I kept thinking about this.
- I’ll say this for Cleveland. It has arguably the best wings in the country. Got my fix.
- Daequan Cook picked a bad time to get tight. Back in his home state, he went 2-for-7 from 3.
- Alonzo Gee. Samardo Samuels. Christian Eyenga. Manny Harris. What do they all have in common? None of them are NBA players. And they each logged more than 20 minutes. Incredible.
- More than when Perkins might debut, I’m wondering how long it will take for him and Ibaka to get on one accord. Ibaka and Mohammed look pretty darn good together.
- Here’s what Mohammed said about Ibaka. “He reminds me of Theo Ratliff back in his day with his ability to block shots.” High praise.
- These early Sunday games are the greatest decision the NBA ever had. The Thunder’s home Sunday games should be at 1 p.m., not 6 p.m.
- I seriously feel bad for Cavs fans. This place is completely different than it was with LeBron James. Someone said to me in jest during the game, ‘Wait till you all lose Durant.’ Apples to oranges, I know. But a scary thought nonetheless.
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 101218Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15357OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents
- 13402Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 8724Line of storms brings flash floods to Oklahoma City area
- 8110How to help tornado victims
- 8098Oklahoma tornadoes: Love for Oklahoma generates big donation
- 8041Oklahoma tornadoes: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford leading aid effort
- 6720Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma singer packs tour bus with donations for storm victims
- 6515Oklahoma tornadoes: Red Cross text donations not designated for Oklahoma
- 5990Oklahoma tornadoes: Tornado leaves family members in two hospitals and one dead
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients
Send me a copy of this email.