Re­vamped Cavs roll past the Thun­der

LeBron scores 37 points, new ac­qui­si­tions con­tinue to im­press as Cavs win in OKC

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Cliff Brunt

“For the guys that were here, we’re just try­ing to make them as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble. Make the tran­si­tion as seam­less as pos­si­ble.” – LeBrpn James, on the Cavs’ new ac­qui­si­tions


OK­LA­HOMA CITY » LeBron James and his new team­mates are play­ing like old bud­dies. James scored 37 points, and the new-look Cava­liers got a dif­fer­ent re­sult this time against the Thun­der in a 120-112 win.

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 Cava­liers lost to the Thun­der 148-124 on Jan. 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.

“I think their abil­ity to space it, drive it, kick it, their skill level, I think — not that it was bad be­fore, but I think the speed, prob­a­bly the tempo and the pace they are play­ing at is a lit­tle bit faster,” he said.

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.

James praised Cleve­land gen­eral man­ager Koby Alt­man for get­ting what the team needed at the trade dead­line.

“It just wasn’t work­ing out for us. He made the changes he felt best fit our team,” James said. “Then, it’s on me to make sure the new guys that come in, that they fit in and make it as seam­less as pos­si­ble. That’s my job. This is the third game in a row my voice is gone. So I am just try­ing to have com­mu­ni­ca­tion at an all-time high for us.”

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.

“This guy has been an iron­man for so long, but when you miss two games and prac­tices and you have one day to get back, there could have been, for him, try­ing to work his way back in to where he was,”’ Dono­van said.

“He’s never go­ing to make an ex­cuse about his an­kle or how he feels or any­thing else. He gave ev­ery­thing, as he al­ways does, to try to win.”

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 6 for 6 from the field dur­ing that stretch.

The Thun­der re­sponded with an 8-0 run to get back into the game. Cleve­land took a 91-87 edge into the fourth quar­ter.

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 Thun­der trimmed their deficit to five in the fi­nal minute and could have come closer, but Alex Abrines missed a 3-pointer, and Nance got free for a dunk to seal the win for Cleve­land.

The Cava­liers led 62-57 at half­time. James had 16 points, four re­bounds and five as­sists, and Smith had 15 points on five 3-point­ers. Adams scored 15 points be­fore the break for Ok­la­homa City.


CAVA­LIERS » A dou­ble foul was called on Nance and Ok­la­homa City’s Ray­mond Fel­ton af­ter they got tan­gled up in the se­cond quar­ter . ... Shot 54 per­cent in the first half and 51 per­cent over­all . ... Com­mit­ted just seven turnovers. THUN­DER » West­brook was is­sued a tech­ni­cal foul in the first quar­ter. It was his 12th of the sea­son . ... Had just two turnovers in the first half . ... Out­re­bounded the Cava­liers, 51-41.

Stat lines

The Cava­liers are av­er­ag­ing 126 points dur­ing their four-game win streak and have scored at least 120 points in each game.


James on Cleve­land’s de­fense against the Thun­der. “I don’t know if we con­tained them. PG (Ge­orge) was shoot­ing the heck out of the ball. Melo hit some tough shots in my face. Russ was I think three re­bounds away from an­other triple-dou­ble. Adams is a beast. We just tried to con­tain the rest of them.”

Up next

CAVA­LIERS » Host the Wiz­ards on Feb. 22. THUN­DER » Visit the Griz­zlies on Wed­nes­day.


LeBron James cel­e­brates with Jor­dan Clark­son dur­ing the se­cond half against the Thun­der in Ok­la­homa City on Feb. 13. The Cavs won, 120-112.


Cava­liers for­ward LeBron James drives past Thun­der for­ward Paul Ge­orge dur­ing the first half in Ok­la­homa City on Feb. 13.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.