James’ 37 lead Cavs past Thunder
Lebron James scored 37 points, and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers got a much different result this time against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 120112 victory on Tuesday night.
Cleveland claimed its second straight win since adding George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in trades, and their fourth straight victory overall, The Associated Press reported.
The Cavaliers lost to the Thunder 148-124 on January 20 with a very different roster.
“It’s a change of scenery and they’re just trying to take advantage of it,” James said.
“For the guys that were here, we’re just trying to make them as comfortable as possible. Make the transition as seamless as possible.” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said the changes create a lot of problems. Each of Cleveland’s additions made solid contributions against Oklahoma City. Hill started at point guard and went 24 minutes without a turnover. Hood and Clarkson each scored 14 points and Nance had 13 points and nine rebounds, including eight offensive boards.
Holdover guard J.R. Smith added 18 points for the Cavaliers. It was Cleveland’s second straight road win against top competition — the Cavaliers rolled past Boston 121-99 on Sunday. “We’ve got to keep working,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “It’s a process. You’ve got to keep playing well, keep getting better and hit that stride late.”
Paul George scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony 24 for the Thunder. Steven Adams added 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook scored 21 points. Westbrook and Anthony had missed the past two games with sprained ankles.
Westbrook had 12 assists and seven rebounds, but he made just 7 of 19 shots.
James scored 14 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter, including two 3-pointers, to give Cleveland a 78-68 lead. He was six-for-six from the field during that stretch.
The Cavaliers took control in the fourth, and a layup by James after driving on George pushed the Cavaliers ahead 115-106 with 49 seconds to play.
The Cavaliers are averaging 126 points during their four-game win streak and have scored at least 120 points in each game.
The Houston Rockets hit 10 three-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 126-108 victory over Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to nine.
“I knew we were making our shots, but that fourth quarter, that’s what we’re capable of,” said Rockets guard James Harden.
“I think it was a four-point game and we went on a 12-0. That’s how fast it was.”
Harden had 34 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. Ryan Anderson scored 21 points off the bench as the Rockets (43-13) snapped Minnesota’s 13-game home winning streak and pulled within a half-game of the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the NBA. Houston has won 16 of its last 18 games.
Karl-anthony Towns had 35 points and 12 rebounds in Minnesota’s first home loss since December 16 against Phoenix. Jeff Teague added 25 points and eight assists, and Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 11 points after starting 0 for 6 from the floor.
Houston used 3-pointers to keep Minnesota at bay throughout the game and then to pull away late. Anderson scored 12 in the fourth quarter, all from three-point range.
“Tonight they played a big lineup so we wanted to take advantage of our switches and our mismatches, and we did that,” Anderson said.
The Timberwolves trailed just 95-91, but Houston hit four straight threepointers to take a 107-91 lead in a span of just over two minutes.
Minnesota was just six of 23 from deep. Harden and Anderson each hit as many shots from behind the arc as the Wolves did as a team.
Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins missed his first 12 field goal attempts. Wiggins entered Tuesday’s game shooting 55.6 percent in his previous four games. He finished two for 14.
SUE OGROCKI/AP Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lebron James (L) is fouled by Thunder guard Alex Abrines as he shoots during the first half of an NBA game in Oklahoma City on February 13, 2018.