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On Thursday night in Oklahoma City, both young squads were almost unstoppable in the first half. The Cavaliers stayed that way after intermission; OKC came back down to earth.
The Wine & Gold finished their recent mini-trip at 2-1 following an impressive 129-102 thumping of the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena – their second straight one-sided win to complete a stretch of seven of eight on the road.
The Thunder are the league’s youngest team, and they were banged up on top of that. But they came out ready to play, putting up 61 points in the first half. But the Cavaliers, feeling confident after clobbering the Spurs in San Antonio, scored 65 – and proceeded to keep their foot on the gas in the second stanza.
The Cavaliers shot 51 percent from the floor, drilled 13 triples and handed out a season-high 35 assists. All five starters notched double-figures and Cleveland got a big night from its bench.
Collin Sexton paced both squads with 27 points, going 9-for-17 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the stripe, adding four assists and three boards. His backcourt mate, Darius Garland – coming off a career-high 37-point outburst against the Spurs – added 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting, adding five assists and three boards.
Kevin Love doubled-up for the second time in his last three games, finishing with a season-highs in points (18) and boards (11), going 6-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-8 from deep, adding two assists and a pair of steals.
Isaac Okoro was good for the entirety of the roadie and closed out strong on Thursday night – chipping with 15 points - his third straight double-figure scoring effort - on 6-of-13 shooting, going 2-of-6 from deep after hitting his previous five three-point tries.
Dean Wade, getting his fifth straight start with Jarrett Allen (concussion) and Larry Nance Jr. (illness) still on the mend, added 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, adding four boards, three assists, two steals and a pair of blocks.
Taurean Prince, in his fifth game back from injury, finished with a season-high 22 points – going 9-for-15 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from deep, adding six boards and a steal in 27 minutes off the bench.
Matthew Dellavedova and Isaiah Hartenstein were also very good in relief for J.B. Bickertaff.
Delly, in his fourth game back after weathering a concussion and appendectomy to start the season, led both teams with seven assists; Hartenstein, in his fifth game with Cleveland after being acquired in a Deadline deal, grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds – his second straight game of a dozen boards.
OKC also got some solid contributions off the bench – with sophomore Ty Jerome leading the Thunder with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-9 from long-range.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Matthew Dellavedova first fires a pass inside to Collin Sexton who catches and scores in mid-air, then lobs one upstairs to Isaiah Hartenstein who catches and dunks to finish the ally-oop.
There was no doubt about when this game was decided – and it’s easy to delineate.
After leading the Thunder, 65-61, at the break, the Cavaliers stepped on the throttle after intermission – scoring the first 11 points of the second half and putting the game essentially on ice.
Cleveland would proceed to outscore the Thunder, 28-14, in the third quarter – taking an 18-point edge after three and leading by as many as 29 in the fourth.
In the three-game trip, the Cavs outscored their opponents, 90-64, in the third quarters of those games – winning all three of those periods.
By the Numbers - 18.3, 5.3, 3.7 … Taurean Prince’s scoring, rebounding and assist average in his last three games coming off Cleveland’s bench.
Over that three-game run, the proud Baylor alum is shooting .514 (19-of-37) from the floor, .467 (7-of-15) from long-range and .833 (10-of-12) from the stripe.
"Defensively, I thought were really good over the last three quarters. We gave up 14 points in the third quarter, and (it’s a quarter) where we’ve had woes. So, for us to come out and play that way in the third quarter, we gave ourselves a chance tonight, and then we went on to close it out."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
The Cavaliers schedule – at least in terms of travel – finally normalizes, with a back-to-back on tap this weekend.
On Saturday night, the Raptors come to town in a rescheduled contest, their second visit since the All-Star Break. The following evening, it’s a Sunday night visit from Zion Williamson and the Pelicans.
The Cavs play two of the next three on the road – traveling to face the Hornets on Wednesday night in Charlotte, followed by a visit from Steph Curry and the Warriors on Thursday. Next Saturday night, the Wine & Gold travel to the Windy City for the second time since the Break.