A shuffling Oklahoma City Thunder unit lost on the road to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 107-91.
Oklahoma City’s setback to Cleveland almost played out as a tale of two halves. The Thunder fought on even terms with the defending champions prior to the floodgates erupting with 2:34 remaining before intermission.
Following a 43-43 gridlock, Cleveland outscored OKC 64-48 until the final horn mercifully blared.
Russell Westbrook tallied triple-double #24 with 20 points, ten rebounds, and twelve assists. However, the All-Star reserve shot just 7-of-26 overall.
Unfortunately, after an auspicious beginning, the Thunder offered a meager 37/23/68 split opposite Cleveland’s benign defense.
Prior to today, Cavs hadn't beaten a .500 team in 2017. Wins before OKC came against the Nets (2), Suns (2), Kings and Pelicans.— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) January 29, 2017
For the Cavs, LeBron James (25, 14 rebs, eight ast) and Kyrie Irving (29 pts, ten asts) led the way. Although, the strong performances of secondary Cavaliers players Tristan Thompson (19 pts, 12 rebs, four stl, four blk) and Iman Shumpert 16 pts (5-of-8 3PM) broke Oklahoma City’s competitive will.
The Thunder starting unit was outscored 90-60 by an invigorated Cleveland opening quintet.
Victor Oladipo added 17 points, as young pivots Domas Sabonis (12 pts) and Joffrey Lauvergne (13) fought to keep OKC afloat minus standout Enes Kanter.
Kanter’s absence loomed as this contest slipped through Oklahoma City’s grasp both offensively and in the paint.
Throughout Cleveland’s deciding run, OKC was outbattled 43-25 on the break and in close. As the Cavaliers loosened, their commanding lead became insurmountable.
Cleveland improves to 32-14 overall, (21-5 home record), as Oklahoma City’s record drops to 28-20. During Sunday's matinee, the Thunder's three-game winning streak also concluded.
Oklahoma City next takes the court Tuesday night opposite the San Antonio Spurs.