Game 48: Thunder at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Thunder have the second-best record in basketball. They have the potential to come into The Q and put a hurtin' on the struggling Cavs. Oklahoma City lost to Miami in last year's NBA Finals. They have the firepower to win the whole enchilada, despite trading away mercurial guard James Harden.
If the Cavs come out and play close to the way they did on Friday, the Thunder will lay a 30-point loss on them. The Cavs sleep-walked through their 18-point defeat to the Pistons. Very few players showed up, other than power forward Tristan Thompson and reserve big man Marreese Speights.
With a league-best 29.6-point scoring average, Thunder forward Kevin Durant is in search of his fourth consecutive scoring title. He became the seventh player in NBA history to capture three consecutive scoring crowns. Michael Jordan was the last player to win three straight scoring titles (1995-1998).
Cavs forward Alonzo Gee will have his hands full tonight. He'll need some help to defend the 6-9 Durant.
Point guard Russell Westbrook is also one of the top players in the league. The Thunder come at teams in waves. They have a deep and talented roster.
The Cavs are reeling right now, having lost two in a row. Their defense was non-existent in each of those losses. Just when some people were starting to feel good about them again, they revert right back to where they were.
Hopefully, they haven't started to tune out Coach Byron Scott. He deserves a better fate. I wonder sometimes if the players are even listening to what he has to say.
Unfortunately with this team, everything starts with point guard Kyrie Irving. When he doesn't have a big night, this team isn't competitive. When he's making shots and making things happen, they can be quite good. He freely admitted on Friday he was pissed off and disengaged. He did stand up and take the blame.
Something is a little off about the entire scenario. I'm sure he'll come out tonight with some fire. They usually play well against the top teams. For one thing, it catches their attention. They know they'll have to perform in order to compete. Against some of the lower-rung competition, they play down to their level.
Strange bunch, this 2012-13 Cavs team.
Opposing teams are shooting a league-worst 47.4 percent against the Cavs this year. In the last two games, the Warriors and Pistons shot a combined 53.9 percent from the field.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Kevin Durant (6-9, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Serge Ibaka (6-10, 235)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) 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)
PROJECTED INACTIVE LIST
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby
Thunder - C Daniel Orton
David Jones, Brent Barnaky, Brian Forte