By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City raced out to a comfortable first half lead and cruised to its fourth consecutive win on Sunday night, beating Cleveland 106-91. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Led by the sensational Kyrie Irving, Cleveland cut OKC’s lead to 76-73 in the waning moments of the third quarter. It had been a dominant 12 minutes for the Cavs, bursting back into a game that once seemed out of reach. But as the final 2.6 seconds ticked off, Russell Westbrook heaved a half-court prayer toward the hoop. And it banked in, giving the Thunder a comfortable six-point lead heading to the fourth and shifting momentum.
It was over when…
…Westbrook rode that buzzer beater to a long-distance barrage, hitting two more threes in the opening moments of the fourth quarter. Suddenly a three-point lead had been stretched out to 12. And it would only get worse from there.
Star of the game – Russell Westbrook
As evidenced in the sections above, OKC’s streaky guard had his fingerprints all over this one. How do you turn the ball over eight times and still win player of the game? How about 27 points (on 10-15 shooting), 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals. From the tip, he controlled the game with his aggression and won the intriguing point guard matchup with Irving.
Durant’s scoring ‘slump’
Don’t get me wrong, KD has played great basketball to start the season, contributing in his usual ways and bumping up his rebounding production. And it’s tough to fault a guy’s scoring proficiency when he’s averaging more than 22 among the world’s greatest athletes. But there’s no doubt his scoring is down. Through seven games, he’s still yet to score 30 points, a drought longer than any Durant’s experienced last season. And his season-high of 26 on Sunday is lower than his average from each of the last three seasons.
Kevin Martin is shooting 53 percent from three this season, hitting at least one in all seven games and going 17-32 overall. I’d say he’s fit in quite nicely.
Stat of the game
Since his arrival in Oklahoma City, when Kendrick Perkins scores double-digit points, including the playoffs, the Thunder are 14-1. That includes Sunday night, when Perkins scored a season-high 10.
Tweet of the game
The seven blocks, by far, was the most impressive part of this.
The Thunder play in Detroit tomorrow night, but it’ll be hard not to overlook the winless Pistons. Because awaiting KD and the boys on their return to OKC is a red-hot rival. Memphis is in Chesapeake Energy Arena Wednesday night, riding a five-game win streak and impressive victory over Miami on Sunday.