The Cavaliers have played nine of their last 12 games on the road. And in the second half of Friday night’s contest in Oklahoma City, they looked like it.
Playing the second game of a back-to-back without the services of Donovan Mitchell, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, the Wine & Gold ran out of gas down the stretch and were outscored by 19 after intermission, dropping the 112-100 decision to the Thunder at Paycom Center.
Three Cavs starters notched double-figures, but two others struggled mightily, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had his way – going off for 35 points to even the season series.
Darius Garland scored 13 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter, going 10-for-23 from the floor, including 3-of-8 from long-range and 8-of-10 from beyond the arc, leading both squads with 13 assists and four steals.
Evan Mobley was almost as good – finishing with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting, drilling both three-pointers he attempted, doubling-up with a game-high 11 rebounds to go with a pair of blocks.
Jarrett Allen was the only other Cavalier in double-figures, chipping in with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, adding nine boards and a block.
Isaac Okoro had a long night on the defensive end trying to check SGA, but still finished with two steals and a pair of blocks. But he finished with just six points on 3-of-7 shooting, missing all three three-pointers he attempted. Caris LeVert, starting in place of the injured Mitchell, handed out nine assists, but was just 1-of-12 from the floor in Friday’s loss.
For the Thunder, Gilgeous-Alexander – the league’s fifth-leading scorer – went 12-for-21 from the floor and 10-for-11 from the stripe, drilling the only triple he attempted, adding a team-high eight assists, five boards, two steals and a block.
Rookie Jalen Williams also proved to be a problem – adding 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting in the victory.
On the night, Oklahoma City shot 53 percent from the floor, including 56 percent from long-range and was 22-of-25 from the stripe.
FEAT. HIGHLIGHT: DG'S QUICK ASSSIST TO MOBLEY
Feat. Highlight: DG's Quick Assist to Mobley
The first half of Friday’s contest was back-and-forth, with seven ties and six lead changes before the break. But the Cavaliers caught some momentum right before half – taking a 10-point edge on Evan Mobley’s three-pointer with just over a minute to play in the second quarter.
The Cavs maintained a slim lead throughout most of the third, but OKC began warming up late in the period – with Gilgeous-Alexander tying the contest at 78-apeice on a pullup jumper with 32 seconds to play.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the game was knotted up once again – this time at 81-all when the Thunder made their move. Josh Giddey untied the game with a reverse layup, keying an 18-5 run culminated by Kenrich Williams three-pointer with just over four minutes to play.
The Cavs cut it to seven, 99-92, on Darius Garland’s two free throws, but would get no closer the rest of the way.
BY THE NUMBERS
1,006 … rebounds that Evan Mobley has grabbed through the first two years of his NBA career – becoming just the sixth player in league history to rack up at least 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 assists, 150 blocks and 90 steals in 118 games or fewer.
In doing so, the soft-spoken seven-footer now joins a group that includes Alvan Adams, Derrick Coleman, Bobby Jones, Bill Walton and Chris Webber.
CALLS OF THE GAME
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 98.1.
After wrapping up the three-game roadie with a 1-2 mark following Saturday night’s loss in Oklahoma City, the Wine & Gold return to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for a much-needed three-game home stand – beginning with a Sunday night showdown against Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers.
On Tuesday night, Cleveland closes out the month of January with a visit from the Heat before wrapping up the home stand on Thursday night with a nationally-televised matchup against Ja Morant and the Grizzlies.