Kyrie Irving had 35, including 13 in the final 3 minutes, as the Cleveland Cavs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 115-110.
Kevin Durant left for the locker room midway through the third after taking a knee to the ribs, but returned early in the fourth and sparked a Thunder rally to put OKC back on top. But then Kyrie took over the Cavs, who seemed unstoppable, and the Thunder weren't able to keep up.
Durant led the Thunder with 32, Westbrook had 28, and Ibaka added 18.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Even though the Thunder lost, it's hard to be mad after the performance Kyrie Irving put together. The young point guard is one of the best in the game, and fired on all cylinders tonight. Kyrie executed the pick and roll perfectly and took advantage of a lack luster Thunder defense on the way to an amazing night.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
We've talked a bit about the Kyrie's performance tonight, but it was the Thunder's decision making down the stretch that may have cause them this game. The THunder did little to adjust to the high pick and roll that was tearing them up late in the game. Scott Brooks also decided to sit Thabo for most of the 4th quarter, meaning the Thunder were without their best backcourt defender, leaving Westbrook to guard Irving by himself.
Irving is a tough player to guard, but Brooks made zero adjustments in the last 5 minutes. Instead, Brooks left Westbrook to guard one of the league's best point guards in isolation situations, and Irving took full advantage of it. The Thunder never forced the ball out of Irving's hands; no Thabo, no traps, nada. OKC dared Kyrie to beat them, and he did.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
Kyrie only had 13 in the 4th. That means that the rest of the Cavs, one of the worst offensive teams in the league, scored 26 in the 4th. OKC gave up 39 points in the deciding quarter to a bad offensive team.
In the Cavs' last 10 possessions, they converted 9 times over the final 4:20.OKC's 4th quarter defense is becoming a real liability. They're either getting tired or are unfocused, but they're falling apart when they used to get big stops.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder will being a 3 game home stand beginning with the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The Mavs haven't been much of a problem for the Thunder lately. If there's one thing the Thunder has been consistent in, is playing well after a loss. The Thunder are 10-1 following a loss, hopefully they can keep that streak going on Monday.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 32 points, 11 rebounds.
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks.
Thunder Blunder: Thabo Sefolosha, 0 points, 0-2 shooting.
Thunder Plunderer: Kyrie Irving, 35 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists.
Next game: vs. Dallas Mavericks, on Monday, February 4th @ 7 pm CDT
If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.