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One team came into Sunday’s contest having dropped nine straight; the other, six of its last seven.
Something had to give.
Unfortunately, for the 10th consecutive occasion, that something was the Wine & Gold, which dropped another double-digit decision – falling to the Thunder, 117-101, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Since beating the Brooklyn Nets in back-to-back home contests in late January, Cleveland has now dropped 13 of its last 15 – 11 of those losses by double-figures.
The Cavaliers got off to a hot start – hitting six of their first eight shots and taking a double-digit lead in the first quarter. But OKC rallied back quickly, taking the lead after one and holding off any threats the rest of the way. Once again, the Cavs allowed 30 points in each of the first two quarters.
Cleveland’s backcourt and starting center, Jarrett Allen, had strong outings. But forwards Cedi Osman and Isaac Okoro each struggled from the floor – combining to shoot 7-of-24 from the field, including 4-of-19 from deep, with Osman taking the collar in eight long-range attempts.
Jarrett Allen couldn’t have been better – hitting all 11 shots from the floor for career-high 26 points and leading both teams with 17 boards - nine off the offensive glass - and three blocks. It was the 22-year-old’s fourth straight double-double and fifth in the last six games.
Collin Sexton led the Wine & Gold with 27 points – his fifth straight game topping the 20-point plateau – going 11-of-22 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the stripe, adding five boards and three assists.
Sexton’s backcourt mate, Darius Garland, also topped the 20-point mark – the second time in his last four games – finishing with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting, adding a team-high eight points and three steals.
Okoro was the only other Cavalier in double-figures – netting all 12 points from beyond the arc, going 4-of-11 from deep.
The Thunder were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who notched a game-best 31 points, going 9-of-15 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the stripe, adding a game-high nine assists in the win.
OKC’s second unit also dominated the Cavaliers’ – outscoring Cleveland’s bench, 44-9, with Hamidou Diallo – who didn’t miss a shot in five attempts – and Mike Muscala each netting double-figures.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Darius Garland lobs a pass upstairs to Jarrett Allen who was flying to rim and catches and throws down the two-handed jam to finish the ally-oop.
Playing their seventh straight Western Conference opponent, the Cavaliers finally got off to a strong start – taking a 10-point lead midway through the first quarter. But the Thunder – who’d shoot 60 percent in the period – closed the quarter on a 21-8 run to take a three-point edge into the second.
The Cavaliers would take a brief one-point lead on Jarrett Allen’s second free throw early in the quarter, but the Thunder answered that with a 13-2 run – and essentially never looked back from there, retaining their lead for the remainder of the contest.
By the Numbers - .950 … Jarrett Allen’s field goal percentage over the last two games – going 19-for-20 from the floor over that span. Allen, the NBA’s leader in that category, is now shooting .671 from the floor on the season.
Allen became just the third player in the last 30 years – joining Dikembe Mutombo and Dwight Howard – to finish with at least 25 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 100 percent from the floor.
"You have to make open shots. At the end of the day, that’s what this game comes down to. We had open looks, but we have to keep working at it, keep getting better, working at practice. But in order to survive this, you have to make open shots."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
After falling to the Thunder on Sunday night, the end of the 2020-21 season’s first half has come into view – with just five more games remaining before the break.
On Tuesday night, Trae Young and the Hawks roll into Cleveland for the first half of a home back-to-back, with the Rockets touching down on Wednesday. From there, it’s two on the road – traveling to Philly for a Saturday night showdown with the Sixers to wrap up the month of February followed by a Monday stop in Houston to begin March.
The Wine & Gold close out the first half the following Wednesday night when the Pacers come to Cleveland.