clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Game 22: Cleveland at Oklahoma City

New, comments

This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.

Time: 6:00 PM Central Standard Time

Place: The Ford Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)

Enemy Blog(s): Fear the Sword

Backstory: But first a disclaimer.

When it comes to Thunder basketball, I am an eternal optimist. Positive thought equals positive results, right? So being unbiased is a rough task for me. After the Thunder defeated the Orlando Magic, I feel OKC proved that they can beat any team. So let's continue with the task at hand.

The Cavs added Shaq to their roster in order to "Bring the King a ring". With the extra strength inside somehow the Cavs have already tallied up seven losses. Not to mention losses to teams that the Thunder have already defeated (Washington & Memphis). So should we be encouraged? I'd say yes. Plus we all know that KD and the boys like to step up to the top teams in the league.

Of course Cleveland has plenty of bigs that can contend with our paltry front court. So expect Krispy to jump start his jump shot in hopes to pull the Shaq away from the basket. Cleveland also has a nice outside game that OKC has to be aware of. Expect some nice cuts to the basket by Williams and Lebron. In order for the Thunder to pull this one off shots have to fall and rebounds must be collected.

Since, I'm always bouncing about the internet here are a few more thoughts about the game:

Cavs Hit the Road, Travel to OKC | King James Gospel | A Cleveland Cavs Blog
Cleveland’s starting shooting guard Anthony Parker played basketball in Israel for Macabbi Tel Aviv before entering the NBA and is very accustomed to the celebrations of Hanukkah. And AP comes out hot right from the opening tip. Parker picks up four of LeBron’s seven first quarter assists and pours in 12 early points to lead the Cavs to an early 14 point lead. Cleveland withstands a late second quarter run by the Thunder and goes into the locker room with an eight point advantage, 54 – 46.

The King takes matters into his own hands to start the third quarter and pours in 8 consecutive points and finished the quarter with a game-high 27. After sitting the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, James checks back in with his team

Memphis_09_091211_medium

clinging to a four point lead. Kevin Durant tries to steal the King’s throne but LeBron matches him point-for-point. Jeff Green cans two from long distance in the last two minutes and the Cavs trail by 2 with 11 seconds.

LeBron takes the inbound pass from Delonte West and dribbles to his right. Anderson Varejao levels Green on a screen but LeBron runs out of room at the foul line. He swings out to Mo who feeds Parker with a touch pass in the corner. And Anthony Parker celebrates day three of Hanukkah with a game winning tre. Cavs win 103-102.

Cavaliers-Thunder Preview - STATS Senior Writer - NBA - Sporting News
The Thunder are three games over .500 for the first time since 2004-05, when the team was based in Seattle and finished 52-30. Oklahoma City, the second-youngest team in the NBA, has reached 12 wins after needing 50 games to accomplish that feat last season. "They have a very, very good young (group) of basketball players that love to play the game of basketball," James said. "We are looking forward to the challenge. It is going to be a good road test for us against a young, explosive team in their home building, and we have to come out with the same fire we did in the second half (Friday)."

Star Power: Comparisons grow between Kevin Durant and LeBron James | NewsOK.com
At first glance, it’s easy to think LeBron James and Kevin Durant aren’t in the same league. Simply suggesting the two players are seemed silly this summer when the connection first gained steam. Durant’s Thunder was coming off a shameful 23-win season. James’ Cavs, meanwhile, were fresh off yet another deep playoff run. But the comparison now seems credible as the two meet for the first time this season tonight inside the Ford Center. Durant, in his third season, is blossoming into the star many projected him to become and has his Thunder off to a surprising 12-9 start. Durant also ranks fourth in the league in scoring, sitting .1 point ahead of James.


Cavs
(16-7)
Matchups

Thunder
(12-9)
3750_medium

Mo Williams
Some people call me Maurice

Point Guard

Tonight's point guard match up will be overlooked since we will have a superstar match up on our hands. Williams is 44% from beyond the arc. Westbrook shoots 66% from three-land while facing Cleveland. One important note, Mo often leaves the ball handling responsibility to LeBron.

Slight Advantage: Thunder

4390_medium
Russell Westbrook
The Constant Evolver

Auxcuadro_medium

3171_medium
Anthony Parker
Not Tony

Shooting Guard

Parker is a legitimate threat with the 3-ball. He has shot over 50% this season. Thabo can contain Parker, but Thabo will likely be spending time helping guard LeBron. Just how much time Thabo spends with James will determine the result of this match up.

Advantage: Thunder

4141_medium
Thabo Sefolosha
Swiss Army Defender

Auxcuadro_medium

3704_medium
Bron Bron
The King

Small Forward

Here it is! The match up we all waited for. The summer long discussions of who is better will be re-sparked if KD can hold his own against Cleveland's Dancing Queen. Unfortunately LeBron is much quicker and stronger than Durant.

Advantage: Cavs

4244_medium
Kevin Durant
The Kid

Auxcuadro_medium

4481_medium J.J. Hickson
Ze Son of Hick

Power Forward

Hickson's rebounding average is only 3.8 rebounds per game. Green should us this to his advantage, even though Green isn't a rebounding machine himself. Who ever wins this match up will decide the game.

Advantage: Thunder

4247_medium
Jeff Green
Green Energy

Auxcuadro_medium

847_medium
Shaquille O'Neil
The Big Question

Center

So the Vanilla Gorilla poked Shaq in the eye, and the Big Whateva is listed as questionable. Either way, I don't see Krstic winning against anyone from the Cav's front court. Perhaps Thomas will get minutes tonight?

Advantage: Cavs

3622_medium Nenad Krstic
Mr. Comb Over

Auxcuadro_medium

3847_medium


Anderson Varejao
Curly Fries

Bench & Role Players

Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison will face off against Curly Fries and Nosferatu (better known as Varejao and Ilgauskas). While Lucky Harden and Shaun Livingston will compete against the really athletic Jamario Moon and gun-toting Delonte West. If Harden's shots fall we will be fine, otherwise I'm expecting Moon to defy gravity.

Advantage: Cavs

1256623106_medium

James Harden
Wonder Beard

Auxcuadro_medium

Mike_brown_medium

Mike Brown
Former COY

Coach

I could be completely wrong, but I believe LeBron won Brown's coach of the year. Brooks on the other hand has done a great job harnessing the Thunder. Oh yeah, don't forget the Thunder also have Mo Cheeks and Ron Adams helping from the bench.

Advantage: Thunder

Scott_brooks_medium

Scott Brooks
Next COY
images via yahoo.com

Auxcuadro_medium

Other Factors

Auxcuadro_medium

Injuries

Shaq might be out with a poked eye. Daniel Gibson injured his finger in Battier's jersey the other night. Of course Leon Powe, Kyle Weaver, and Kevin Ollie are out of commission for awhile.

Intangibles

If the Thunder keep this game close, LeBron will likely wear himself out. Can Sefolosha's defense and Collison's rebounding keep this game close? Will Westbrook maintain his composure?

Prediction

Expected a very energetic game from both teams. In the long run the Cavs will dominate the game with dribble penetration, while the Thunder will rely on mid-range shooting.

Prediction: Cavs 98 - Thunder 93