Game 7: Cavs at Thunder
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs knew they weren't going to sneak up on the Thunder this time.
Last year, the Cavs waltzed into Oklahoma City and shocked the Thunder, 96-90, on March 9. It was sure to be a hot topic from Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
The Thunder, who have won four in a row, lost in last year's NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. They won't settle for anything short of a title this season. They traded one of their best players in James Harden on Oct. 28.
The Cavs have now lost three in a row. Their 107-105 loss to Phoenix on Friday is going to haunt them for some time. They coughed up a 26-pont, first-half lead in that game.
The Cavs had hoped to have center Tyler Zeller back for Sunday's game wearing a mask. He might not have gotten the medical OK from the concussion. It's unknown whether he'll play again on this road trip that concludes on Tuesday in Brooklyn.
Zeller is certainly needed. The second unit remains in shambles. Other than guard Daniel Gibson, who had 16 points against the Thunder, they just have very little that Coach Byron Scott can count on.
Scott benched the struggling C.J. Miles in favor of Omri Casspi. Casspi played hard, just not very well. He had seven points, four rebounds and two steals, but shot 1 of 7 from the field.
Neither Samardo Samuels, who played 6 minutes before Scott got tired of looking at him, nor Jon Leuer did much to make much of an impact.
Brooks is a former Cavs guard during the 1997-98 season. The Thunder features one of the most talented and deep rosters in the league. Of course, everything starts with forward Kevin Durant, who became the seventh player in league history to lead the NBA in scoring for three consecutive seasons.
He finished with 26 points and eight rebounds. The first-team All-NBA forward was a load for Cavs swingman Alonzo Gee to defend.
Gee has gone from guarding a 6-foot point guard in Chris Paul to the 6-9 Durant on this road trip.
The Cavs' starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters came into the game leading the league in combined scoring at 40 per game. Houston's Jeremy Lin and Harden were second.
Irving had 20 points and five assists for the Cavs. Waiters was held to eight points. He's been bothered from a sprained quad, which has been very painful.
The difference between the teams is that the Thunder bring players like Kevin Martin and Nick Collison off the bench. The Cavs will bring in guys like Donald Sloan.
The Cavs are 1-4 on this six-game, 11-day road trip. They'll practice in Oklahoma City on Monday and fly to New York.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barlclays Center.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Kevin Durant (6-9, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 235) vs. Serge Ibaka (6-10, 235)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) vs. Kendrick Perkins (6-10, 270)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Thabo Sefolosha (6-7, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Russell Westbrook (6-3, 187)
Cavs – F Luke Harangody, C Tyler Zeller
Thunder - C Hasheem Thabeet
Dan Crawford, Bennie Adams, Violet Palmer