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Thunder 106, Cavs 77

by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 12, 2010

Nuggets from my notebook from Sunday’s win over Cleveland.

  • Before the game, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said the biggest key would be energy. It looked like the Thunder didn’t get that message as Cleveland got off to a 6-2 lead. But then the Thunder went on a 13-2 run to take a 15-8 advantage before turning this one into a blowout.
  • Russell Westbrook sparked the entire team tonight. His hustle was huge. His passing was pinpoint. Westbrook had five points, five assists, one steal and one rebound in the first quarter as the Thunder outscored the Cavs 31-17.
  • Here’s a story of karma. Two seasons ago, when the Thunder played at Cleveland around Thanksgiving, the Cavs absolutely destroyed the Thunder. The game was never close. The Thunder trailed by as many as 42 and lost by 35. During a timeout, the Cavs’ in-game entertainment arranged for four or five fans to come onto the court and say what they were thankful for. In what had to be staged, a young boy, probably no older than 9 or 10, took his turn and said, “I’m thankful I don’t have to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder every night.” The crowd erupted and even the Cavs’ bench was in stitches. I’ll never forget the arrogance the Cavs franchise had then. Even Cavs media members had a jolly old time cracking on the Thunder. Don’t worry, Cleveland, we’ve got just the thing for Cavs fans.
  • With 40 seconds left in the first period, the Cavs had hit just five of 20 shots and turned the ball over five times.
  • I can’t remember a Thunder game in the past two years that had more highlights. This was the exact opposite of that game in Cleveland two years ago.
  • James Harden wins the highlight of the night.
  • I thought Durant’s defense in the first half, which really was all that mattered, was exceptional. He forced Jawad Williams (I know, it’s Jawad Williams) into two terrible shots. Durant blocked one.
  • The Thunder’s defense led to 29 fast break points. I’m not positive, but I’m almost certain that is a season-high.
  • Thunder coach Scott Brooks joked after this one that the only thing his team didn’t do well was shoot free throws. Yup, 17-for-24 has become a bad night at the stripe for the Thunder.
  • Defensive rebounding continues to be a bit of an issue. Cavs center Anderson Varejao had a game-high 16 boards, nine of them on the offensive end. Cleveland had 16 offensive rebounds for the game. Credit some of that to the Thunder’s D. The Cavs made just 26 of 77 shots, their 33.8 percent shooting setting a new opponent low for the Thunder.
  • Twenty-five assists against 12 turnovers for the Thunder. Eleven assists against 17 turnovers for the Cavs. OKC scored 28 points off the Cavs’ giveaways.
  • No starter played the fourth quarter in this one. That’s big. Durant is averaging 40 minutes, and I’m wondering if Westbrook can continue his all-out hustle while maintaining his durability for 82 games. Games like this one are important to get guys rest.
  • Every player who played tonight got on the scoreboard. That would be all 12 active players…for both teams. I wonder how often that happens. Not much, I bet.
  • I asked Cole Aldrich before the game how long he might be on the shelf. He couldn’t provide a firm timetable, and he didn’t sound too optimistic that he’d be back anytime soon, either. When an athlete tells you running is difficult, that’s not good.
  • I’m I the only one who thought Cavs guard Manny Harris looked a lot like Royal Ivey?
  • One other thing that wasn’t so good in this one was Durant’s zero assists and five turnovers. After dishing out six assists in each of the past two games, it looked like Durant’s playmaking was starting to pick up. Maybe not.
  • It’s great to see how Jeff Green no longer hesitates on 3-pointers.
  • Eric Maynor needed to face the Cavs in the worst way. He broke out of a mini-slump tonight with nine points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal without turning it over.
  • Quietly, the Thunder’s young players are really developing nicely. D.J. White is showing more and more that he’s just solid and now he’s stringing together some sort of consistency. Byron Mullens, whenever he gets an opportunity, always seems to do a few things right. Some pretty nice luxuries are often lost in the mix at the end of the Thunder’s bench.
  • The Thunder’s entered the night with eight of its final 10 games in 2010 coming  at home. Said Thabo Sefolosha: “We got a real good opportunity to close the month out and finish on a good note.”

-DM-

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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