Red-Hot Cavs Roll Thunder, Take Fourth Straight

Cleveland Closes Campaign’s First Half in Style
Layne Murdoch

Wrap-Up -- Just one week earlier, the Cavaliers were flying home from Orlando – having scored nine points in the final quarter of an embarrassing loss to the Magic – their 13th defeat in 19 games dating back to Christmas Day.

One week later, the Wine & Gold barrel into the All-Star Break as arguably the hottest team in basketball – winners of four straight, including Tuesday night’s convincing 120-112 road win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

Cleveland scored over 120 points for the fourth straight game and got at least 50 points from their bench in three straight – taking the lead late in the third quarter of Tuesday’s marquee showdown and never giving it back.

LeBron James propelled the Wine & Gold in that decisive third – scoring 17 of his 37 points on 7-for-10 shooting as the Cavaliers improved to 34-22 heading into All-Star Weekend.

They’ll be the topic of conversation in Los Angeles over the Break – a red-hot squad revived and revitalized by a deft trio of trades pulled off at the Deadline.

James, who’ll start his 14th straight All-Star Game on Sunday, has breathed life back into the bid to win his fifth MVP award – leading all scorers on Tuesday night, going 14-for-23 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from the stripe, adding eight boards, eight assists and blocked shot.

Dating back to last Wednesday’s overtime win against Minnesota in which he drilled the game-winner at the buzzer, LeBron is averaging 30.0. points, 9.5 boards and 13.0 assists – including a pair of triple-doubles in the process.

J.R. Smith has been on a tear of his own and he kept it rolling on Tuesday, finishing with 18 points, going 6-of-9 from beyond the arc to go with six boards, three assists, a steal and one of the coolest plays of the night – saving a defensive rebound from going out of bounds with 11.6 to play and firing a full-court touchdown pass to Larry Nance Jr., who threw down a dunk to ice the affair.

Nance was outstanding against OKC, outdueling Steven Adams in the second half after the rugged big man dominated Cleveland before intermission. On the night, Nance – one of the four new Cavaliers acquired at the Deadline – tallied 13 points off the bench, grabbing a team-high nine boards, eight of those off the offensive glass.

The other two reserves Cleveland acquired last Thursday were just as impressive.

Rodney Hood was good again from beyond the arc, following up a strong showing in Boston with a 14-point effort on Tuesday, going 4-of-8 from long-range, 5-of-10 from the floor overall, adding two boards and a pair of steals.

Jordan Clarkson netted 14 points of his own, going 6-of-10 from the floor to go with three boards and four assists.

For the Thunder, four starters tallied at least 20 points and Alex Abrines went scoreless. Russell Westbrook doubled-up with 21 points and 12 assists, but at no point did he dictate the game as he did last month in Cleveland. Steven Adams was a handful once again – pulling down 12 of his 17 rebounds off the offensive glass to go with 22 points.

Despite those strong showings by Westbrook and Adams, the Wine & Gold still outscored the Thunder on the break – 14-9 – and in the paint – 46-36. OKC’s bench combined for just 20 points compared to 52 for Cleveland’s rejuvenated second unit.

JR Smith


Hot shooting Cavs take down the Thunder for their fourth straight win.

Turning Point -- Cleveland built a double-digit lead in the third quarter, but the star-laden Thunder continued to chip away throughout the period and when Jerami Grant scored on a layup to start the fourth, the Cavaliers’ lead was cut to a deuce, 91-89.

But Cleveland’s second unit took over from there – with Jordan Clarkson scoring on a step-back jumper, Rodney Hood drilling his fourth triple of the night, Jeff Green canning a pair of free throws and Larry Nance tipping in a layup off his own offensive rebound.

By the time Grant stopped the bleeding, splitting a pair of free throws, the Wine & Gold had gone on a 9-1 run that gave them just enough breathing room to hold off OKC for the victory.

By the Numbers12-1, 21-4 … Cavaliers’ record this season when scoring at least 120 points and shooting at least 50 percent from the floor, respectively. Tuesday's 120-point effort marks the first time in franchise history that the Cavs have done so in four straight contests.

QuotableLarry Nance Jr., on fitting right in with the Cavaliers …

”All it is is playing hard and making the right plays. If you do those two things, you can go to any team in the league and fit right in. That’s what I wanted to focus on – just come in and make sure I’m out there making winning plays. Whether it shows up in the stat book or not, I don’t care.”

Up Next -- After dropping the Thunder on Tuesday night in OKC to close out the first half of the 2017-18 campaign, the Cavaliers get a well-earned nine-day break before tangling with their old rivals, the Washington Wizards, on the other side of the Break, welcoming John Wall and Co. to The Q next Thursday. The Cavs travel to Memphis the following night, but return for a nice five-game homestand – with San Antonio, Brooklyn, Philly, Denver and Detroit on the home docket.

Calls of the Game

#CavsThunder Postgame: LeBron James - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Tuesday's 120-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Cavs at Thunder - February 13, 2018

Scroll Video up Scroll Video down Scroll Video left Scroll Video right

#CavsThunder Postgame: LeBron James - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Tuesday's 120-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Feb 14, 2018  |  05:36

#CavsThunder Postgame: Larry Nance Jr. - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers forward/center Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following Tuesday's 120-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Feb 14, 2018  |  04:24

#CavsThunder Postgame: Rodney Hood - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers guard Rodney Hood spoke with Cavs.com's Fred McLeod following Tuesday's 120-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Feb 13, 2018  |  02:08

#CavsThunder Postgame: Jordan Clarkson - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson spoke with the media following Tuesday's 120-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Feb 13, 2018  |  01:53

#CavsThunder Postgame: Coach Lue - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Tuesday's 120-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Feb 13, 2018  |  05:39

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 120, Thunder 112

LeBron James leads all scoring with 37 points as the Cavaliers get the win over the Thunder, 120-112.
Feb 13, 2018  |  02:05

LeBron James Scores 37 In Win vs. Thunder

LeBron James scores 37 points to go along with eight assists and eight rebounds as the Cavaliers get the win.
Feb 13, 2018  |  01:56

Featured Highlight: Swish to Larry Nance Jr. Seals the Deal

JR Smith alertly grabs the loose ball and throws the long outlet pass to Larry Nance Jr. for the game-clinching slam.
Feb 13, 2018  |  00:12

Beautiful Basketball Leads to Rodney Hood Triple

Great ball movement and teamwork leads to a Rodney Hood trey forcing an OKC timeout.
Feb 13, 2018  |  00:09

LBJ Getting Hot in the Third

LeBron James comes out in the second half on a mission, heating up in the third quarter to build the Wine & Gold lead.
Feb 13, 2018  |  00:40

LBJ Spins and Slams

LeBron James spins on the Thunder defense and finishes it off with a slam in this Goodyear 'More Driven' highlight.
Feb 13, 2018  |  00:14

T.T. Finishes the Alley-Oop

George Hill throws the high-handoff to Tristan Thompson who finishes the alley-oop slam.
Feb 13, 2018  |  00:07

LBJ Soars for the Slam

LeBron James blows past the Thunder defense and throws the hammer down.
Feb 13, 2018  |  00:08

Swish Heats Up in the First

JR Smith continues his sharp shooting by canning four triples in the first quarter in OKC.
Feb 13, 2018  |  00:36

#CavsThunder Shootaround: LeBron James - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media prior to Tuesday's shootaround at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
Feb 13, 2018  |  05:29

#CavsThunder Shootaround: Coach Lue - February 13, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media prior to Tuesday's shootaround at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
Feb 13, 2018  |  02:55

Swish on Getting Back into Form

Cavaliers guard JR Smith spoke with the media following Monday's practice in Boston as the Wine & Gold get set to jet off to Oklahoma City.
Feb 12, 2018  |  05:02

Cedi Osman on Building Confidence

Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman spoke with the media following Monday's practice in Boston as the Wine & Gold get set to jet off to Oklahoma City.
Feb 12, 2018  |  04:20

The Word from Practice with Coach Lue

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Monday's practice in Boston as the Wine & Gold get set to jet off to Oklahoma City.
Feb 12, 2018  |  05:38