Regular Season Recap: Thunder vs Cavaliers

CAVALIERS 96

THUNDER 90
4 Number of players who scored in double figures for the Thunder on the night

6 Blocked shots by Serge Ibaka in the game

8 Assists for Kevin Durant on the night, a season-high and one shy of his career-high

10 Players who both played and scored for the Thunder on the night

13 Total blocked shots by the Thunder in the game

20 Total assists for the Thunder on 37 made baskets

20 Lead changes throughout the game

21 Number of times the game was tied

The Thunder will continue its homestand against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder then concludes its homestand on Tuesday when it hosts the Houston Rockets, then hits the road for one night as it takes on the Denver Nuggets on Thursday and returns home for a Friday night clash against the San Antonio Spurs.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
The Thunder dropped only its second home game of the season on Friday night in a 96-90 loss to the Kyrie Irving-led Cleveland Cavaliers. While the number one overall draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft was held to 4-for-12 shooting and only nine points, it was his 12 assists and only one turnover that was the factor for the Cavaliers. Head Coach Scott Brooks' ball club turned the ball over 17 times and also allowed the Cavaliers to bring in 21 offensive rebounds on its way to 15 second chance points. While the Thunder was able to hold Cleveland to 41.8 percent shooting, it wasn't enough to get the win.

“I think you have to give Cleveland a lot of credit," Brooks said. "They came in with a great game plan and executed it very well. We were a step slow. We turned it over and gave up too many offensive rebounds. I think that’s the game right there. They had 21 offensive rebounds and we had 17 turnovers. That led to some easy buckets for them.”

There were a few positives to draw on the night, such as all ten Thunder players getting on the stat sheet with points, and the team racking up 20 assists, inculding eight from forward Kevin Durant, a season-high and one short of a career-high. In addition, the Thunder protected the rim well with 13 blocked shots, including six by Serge Ibaka. In fact, there was one sequence in the first half where Ibaka blocked three consecutive shots on the same possession, then Durant added one of his three blocks on the night for good measure.

“I think we protected the rim well," Durant said. "Serge was great as usual. (They) executed down the stretch. It is a loss for us but we just have to get past it.”

At the end of the evening, it was just too much Irving with his short dribbles and crossovers in the lane to free up his teammates and himself for layups that did in the Thunder. Irving was able to get into the lane and feed his teammates for 56 points in the paint. The Thunder has typically been great down the stretch when it needs to execute in tight ballgames, particularly at home, but wasn't able to make the plays it needed to in the waning minutes of the contest.

“We just didn’t’ get stops," Harden said. "They rebounded the ball and got some good shots…We didn’t rebound the ball or get stops. That would’ve been the turn of the game if we would have got stops down the stretch – and we didn’t.”

TURNING POINT:
The turning point in this one came late in the fourth quarter. The Thunder held an 85-82 lead after a spectacular Kevin Durant floater in the lane, but the Thunder missed its next six shot attempts and Kyrie Irving took over for Cleveland to score five out of his team's ten points in a 12-0 rally. By the time 44.4 seconds were left on the clock, the Cavaliers had taken the lead and made it a 94-85 game and put this one out of reach.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Kendrick Perkins starts the game off by playing physical inside, grabbing an offensive rebound... Russell Westbrook flares to the corner and Kevin Durant hits him for a 3-pointer,, then Serge Ibaka impacts a Kyrie Irving shot... Perfect screen by Perkins to free up Daequan Cook, then Ibaka snares an offensive board and puts it back in with the foul... Westbrook shows great hustle to steal an inbounds pass, but he can't tip-toe and stay in bounds... Durant sticks with the ball after almost having it stolen, then he gets to the rim to draw a foul... Durant swings one across the top of the key to Cook for a 3-pointer, then Ibaka pressures underneath on defense to foce a turnover... Big board by Cook on the defensive end... Nice awareness by Durant to realize the shot clock was running low so he sent a no-look pass to Westbrook for a jumper... Tough offensive rebound by Nick Collison, who then lobs an alley-oop to Kevin Durant... Quick hands from Royal Ivey to make a steal and flip the ball to Westbrook. Ivey then ran to the corner to space the floor as Westbrook drew a foul... Great job by Collison to scramble back and contest on defense... Smart foul by Nazr Mohammed to stop a sure dunk... Collison secures a looose ball then drops one off to James Harden for a 3-pointer, Harden then uses a nice stutter-step move in the paint to give himself room for a floater... Mohammed uses great positioning to draw a charge and force a turnover... Nice work by Mohammed to contest a shot by just going straight up, then Collison smartly wraps up a Cavalier... Reggie Jackson does a great job of running up court with the ball and finding Ivey for a corner 3-pointer... Ivey and Collison hustle to grab a loose ball and call timeout... Jackson sends down a dunk with authority after a crossover move!... Great use of the screen by Durant to free himself up for a jumper, then Harden boxes out hard to grab a defensive board... Nice job by Jackson to get back in transition on defense... Good use of the pump fake by Westbrook to make his man hesitate... Monster block by Serge Ibaka on one end directly leads to a transition slam from Westbrook to Durant... Pretty cross-court pass from Durant to Harden for a 3-pointer... Perfect alley-oop from Durant to Ibaka for a thunderous slam... Nice job by Ibaka to fake a pass and then take it strong to the hoop for a dunk...Great defense by the Thunder to force a five-second inbounding violation... Beautiful bounce pass by Ibaka to Perkins for a slam dunk... Three blocks on one possession by Ibaka to stop the Cavs at the rim!... Then Durant caps it with a block on his own that leads to a Westbrook and Harden run out alley-oop.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Great elevation by Perkins to get up and block a shot, then Ibaka swats another shot... Slick dish in the lane by Durant to Ibaka for a dunk... Nice work by Ibaka to draw an offensive foul by standing straight up... Solid defensive pressure by Durant to force a turnover... Determination from Durant to pick the ball back up after getting it stripped and then taking it to the hoop for a floater... Great instincts by Durant to follow up his own miss with an offensive rebound and put-back... Then Harden uses a headfake to freeze his defender and get a floater in the lane... Good drive-and-kick by Jackson to find Collison for a mid-range jumper... Heads up play by Jackson to fire up a shot as the shot clock expired after an offensive rebound by Collison... Nice dish from Jackson to Mohammed for a mid-range jumper... Great show of hustle by Mohammed, Collison and Jackson to tip around a loose ball until Jackson picked it up and put it in for two points... Incredible hustle from Ivey to dive on the floor and grab a loose ball to get a jump ball, then Westbrook snares the ball and brings it the length of the floor for a layup... Wonderful hustle by all five Thunder players, as Ivey and Perkins get on the floor again to get a loose ball... Anticipation by Durant to predict a shot attempt that he then blocked, then he takes the ball to the rim to draw a foul... Sweet break-down move by Westbrook to get to the bucket... Big defensive rebound by Durant after a nice box out, then he miraculously maintains the ball and puts in a floater... Big steal by Westbrook and Ivey to give the Thunder one last chance.