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Luol Deng

Big Fourth Lifts Cavs Over Thunder

February 26, 2014
by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer

Wrap-Up – If this wasn’t the Cavaliers’ best road win of the season, it’d tough to think of a better one. Playing without three key contributors, coming off a three-game losing streak and facing the top team in the Western Conference on the second night of a back-to-back, the Wine and Gold weathered the Thunder for three quarters before posting a 42-point fourth – pulling away for the 114-104 win on Wednesday night in OKC.

The Cavs starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack combined for 52 points – with Kyrie netting 14 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and Jack netting nine of his season-high 21 in the fourth. Irving dished out a team-high nine helpers and led both squads with four steals.

Every Cavalier starter notched double-figures, with Spencer Hawes following up with 19 points and seven boards and Tristan Thompson doubling-up with 11 points, 11 boards and five assists. Luol Deng added 13 points, three boards, two assists and a steal.

Playing once again without Dion Waiters, CJ Miles and Anderson Varejao, the Cavaliers topped Oklahoma City Thunder for the seventh time in their last 10 meetings, including three of the last four. Cleveland has also won four of its last five on the road.

Turning Point – The Thunder threatened to pull away early in the third, running their lead to a dozen points, before closing the period up by a touchdown. But the Cavs opened the fourth on a 7-0 run to tie the game. It was back-and-forth until Jarrett Jack’s three-pointer with 4:18 to play gave Cleveland a one-point lead they would not relinquish. Kyrie Irving drilled a bomb from 25 feet on the next possession put Cleveland up four and his old-fashioned three-point play two minutes later put the Cavs up nine, 108-99, and sent Oklahoma City fans to the exits.

Game BallCavaliers Second Unit – Without some key bench players – including the top-scoring reserve in the Eastern Conference – the Cavaliers’ second unit came up huge in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s win. Tyler Zeller, Alonzo Gee, Anthony Bennett and Matthew Dellavedova combined to go 6-of-10 from the floor in the fourth quarter, providing energy and holding off OKC’s starters until Mike Brown could reinsert his.

By the Numbers67 … percentage that the Cavaliers shot from the floor (14-21) and the three-point line (4-6) in the fourth quarter on Wednesday. Cleveland was 10-of-11 from the stripe in the final period and 23-of-24 on the night.

QuotableHead Coach Mike Brown, bouncing back after a tough start to the third …

”Oklahoma City came out and they kind of punched us in the mouth a little bit in that third quarter and our guys didn’t panic. They just stayed with it. I give veteran guys like Luol [Deng] and especially Jarrett Jack the kudos for calming everybody down and just kind of staying the course.”

Up Next – The Cavaliers close the month of February on Friday night when they welcome the Jazz to The Q. The following night, they travel to Beale Street to take on the Grizzlies. The following Tuesday the Spurs come to town before the Cavs get a pair of days off. When they return to work, it’s a Friday night matchup in Charlotte followed by a March 8 meeting with the Knicks at The Q, as the Cavaliers retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ uniform No. 11 into the rafters.

Watch Highlights: Cavs 114, Thunder 104

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