Notebook: Cavaliers 115, Thunder 110



Posted Feb 3, 2013 12:52 AM

By Brian Dulik, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving scored 13 of his game-high 35 points in the final three minutes, powering the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 115-110 upset of the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night. Center Marreese Speights added 21 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Cleveland (14-34), which trailed by 11 points midway through the third quarter. Small forward Kevin Durant paced Oklahoma City (35-12) with 32 points, while point guard Russell Westbrook had 28 points and five assists. The Thunder made their first appearance at Quicken Loans Arena since March 13, 2011.

QUOTABLE: "We beat the best team in the league tonight. I hope the guys will go home and say, 'Hey, you know what? We've got to play this way every night.' It's amazing what happens when you play the game with energy."

-- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott

THE STAT: Irving and Speights each rung up 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers outscored the high-powered Thunder 39-32. The aforementioned duo shot 11-for-15 from the field, answering every big hoop by Durant and Westbrook with one of their own. "Kyrie is a killer," Speights said, smiling. "I knew a little about him before I came here, but I didn't know that." Irving -- the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year -- scored 23 points in 18 second-half minutes, going 3-for-3 on 3-pointers while burying nine of his 13 field goal attempts.

TURNING POINT: After Durant made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 108-108 with 1:26 remaining, Irving answered with five straight points for the Cavaliers. He scored on a layup, then drained a 26-footer to give Cleveland a 113-108 lead. "Kyrie is a closer," Scott said. "That's exactly what he did tonight." Durant cut Oklahoma City's deficit to 113-110 on a drive with 39 seconds left, but Irving again responded, calmly running down the shot clock before banking home a runner that sent the sellout crowd into delirium with 18 ticks on the clock.

QUOTABLE II: "When we were up 11 [points], we have to put them away. We can't just come in and play nonchalant basketball. They were home, too, so we knew if they made a few shots, they were going to get some momentum."

-- Thunder small forward Kevin Durant

HOT: Speights is averaging 15.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in five games since joining the Cavaliers in a trade with Memphis on Jan. 22. The fifth-year pro also has a 53.4 field goal percentage and is shooting 87.5 from the line. "I love what I see from Marreese," Scott said. ... Cleveland power forward Tristan Thompson notched his 18th double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high tying 12 boards. ... Cavaliers shooting guard C.J. Miles buried four 3-pointers and scored 16 points in 15 minutes. ... Cleveland has won four of its last five home games. ... Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka collected 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

NOT: Durant was an uncharacteristic 8-for-21 from the field and 13-for-17 from the foul line. The three-time NBA scoring champion also briefly exited with a rib injury in the third quarter. "I was good," Durant said. "I came back in and played. That's all that matters." ... Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha failed to score or earn an assist in 24 minutes. ... Cavaliers small forward Alonzo Gee is 3-for-16 shooting over the last three games. Both of his baskets against Oklahoma City never passed through the net, both coming on defensive goaltending calls. ... Irving wedged the basketball between the rim and backboard on a field goal attempt.

QUOTABLE III: "I could have rejected the trade, but I didn't because I knew this was a great city with great fans, and I always wanted to be here. The crowd was great tonight. I don't know if we'd have won without them."

-- Cavaliers center Marreese Speights

GOOD MOVE: Irving refused to back down from his comments on Friday night, when he admitted being "disinterested" and "[ticked] off" on the court during Cleveland's 117-99 loss at Detroit. "I said there were different points in the game where I became frustrated and disinterested," the second-year pro said. "There are no excuses for last night. It's part of the game."

BAD MOVE: Irving subsequently excused his lack of effort -- and sounded eerily like former Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in doing so -- against the Pistons. "For the first game in my career, I said I was disinterested," Irving said. "I'm pretty good. I'm allowed to have one game like that. Most of the season, I've been OK. I think my stats and my team speak for it."

NOTABLE: Thunder coach Scott Brooks was a backup point guard on the Cavaliers' 1997-1998 playoff team. "Nobody remembers me around here," Brooks quipped. ... Oklahoma City shooting guard Jeremy Lamb (lower back strain) did not travel to Cleveland, allowing center Daniel Orton to be placed on the 12-man active roster. ... The Thunder completed a stretch of 12 road games in its last 15 contests. ... Cleveland was without shooting guard Daniel Gibson (right big toe sprain), power forward Luke Walton (personal matters), and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery). Gibson was injured in Toronto on Jan. 26, but said he hopes to play Wednesday against Charlotte. "I think I'm running out of suits to wear on the bench," he quipped.

UP NEXT: For the Thunder, Monday vs. Dallas, Wednesday vs. Golden State, Friday vs. Phoenix. For the Cavaliers, Wednesday vs. Charlotte, Friday vs. Orlando, Feb. 9 vs. Denver.