Cavs at Thunder
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
1. All-Star forward LeBron James missed his first game of the season on Thursday with a sore left knee. He's listed as questionable for the New Orleans game on Friday. I'd have to guess that he won't play. The Cavaliers usually err on the side of caution with injuries of this nature. It's unsure when he injured the knee. It could be just wear and tear. He could have bumped it in the Toronto game. He had a couple a hard collisions in the Raptors game, but got up each time. So, let me say it again, I'd be surprised if he plays against the Pelicans.
2. The Cavaliers should thank their lucky stars they didn't have two injuries to worry about. When Kyrie Irving went to the floor with about a minute left in the first half, he grabbed his knee and looked like he was seriously injured. He was helped off the court to the locker room after the play. It was a bit surprising when he came out and warmed up for the second half. Then, Coach David Blatt played him almost the entire second half (all but 1:19). He must have really wanted to play.
3. Let's get this out of the way now: Blatt should leave Matthew Dellavedova in the starting lineup whether James returns against the Pelicans or not. The Shawn Marion experiment is long overdue for a change. Blatt appears to be pretty hard-headed, so he won't make the move just because it was suggested by the media. Marion is almost hurting the team with his lack of offense. He can't shoot and opposing teams know it. Dellavedova doesn't normally shoot this well, either, but he made 5 of 8 from the field and 4 of 6 from the 3-point line en route to 14 points. He also defends, distributes the ball and hustles. Take advantage of his play. Make the move now.
4. The Cavs had their eight-game winning streak snapped. When it was announced that James wasn't playing, most observers realized the winning streak was coming to an end on this night. The Thunder have now won four in a row, including six of their last seven.
5. The Thunder are not only potent offensively, they are one of the top defensive teams in the league. They have a major shot-blocker in Serge Ibaka. Second-year center Steven Adams is also strong around the basket. They now bring Kendrick Perkins off the bench. They limited the Cavs to 94 points and 36.5 percent shooting from the field. That's significant, too, since the Cavs were averaging 106.1 points per game.
6. The Cavs are now 6-4 on the road and had a three-game winning streak snapped. They face another tough obstacle Friday in New Orleans. The thought of Anthony Davis dominating around the basket is dancing in my head right now.
7. Thunder coach Scott Brooks played for the Cavs during the 1997-98 season. Thunder assistant coach Mark Bryant also played for the Wine & Gold during the 1999-2000 season. OKC's assistant GM, Mike Winger, was a member of the Cavs' front office for five seasons.
UP NEXT: at New Orleans, Smoothie King Center, 8 p.m. Friday
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Steven Adams (7-0, 255)
Thunder - F Grant Jerrett, F Mitch McGary