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On Saturday night, the Cavaliers young backcourt went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma City’s outstanding troika of guards.
The positional battle was even. The game was not – with the Thunder surging ahead of the Wine and Gold late in the first quarter and keeping them at arm’s length the rest of the way, handing Cleveland its third straight defeat: a 121-106 decision at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Collin Sexton and Darius Garland combined for 50 of the Cavaliers’ 106 points in the loss.
The Young Bull got his first career start and first career double-double in separate contests against OKC last year. And he was good again on Saturday – leading both teams with 30 points, going 12-of-22 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from deep, to go with five boards and a pair of assists.
Garland followed up with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-7 from long-range, adding a team-high seven assists and a steal.
Cedi Osman pitched in with a season-high 22-point effort – going 7-of-13 from the floor, canning five triples in nine attempts and grabbing four boards despite battling foul trouble all night.
Kevin Love was the only other Cavalier in double-figures, finishing with 12 points, going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, while Tristan Thompson led Cleveland on the boards – snagging 14 rebounds to go with a pair of assists.
The Thunder also had four starters in double-figures. The problem for Cleveland was that they also got a pair of solid performances off the bench: Dennis Schroeder, who pitched in with 22 points and Hamidou Diallo, who added 10 points, four boards and a steal.
Overall, OKC’s second unit outscored Cleveland’s reserves, 52-19. The Thunder also outrebounded the Cavaliers, 52-42, canned seven more free throws and forced 15 turnovers that they converted into 20 points.
Kevin Love makes a hard-nose effort to get the shot and gets fouled in the process.
There wasn’t much drama to Saturday’s contest. After a back-and-forth first 10 minutes, the Thunder closed the first quarter on a 9-2 run and proceeded to pull away from there.
The Thunder led by a touchdown after one quarter and upped their edge to 13 by intermission.
The Wine and Gold cut that advantage to single-digits at the start of both the third and fourth quarters, but OKC would eventually extend its edge to 19 in the final period.
20.9, .494, .846 … Collin Sexton’s scoring average – plus his shooting percentage from the floor and free throw line over his last 11 games.
Over that stretch, the Young Bull has seven 20-point games and a 30-point effort in Saturday’s meeting against OKC.
Coach John Beilein, on Saturday night’s defeat against OKC …
”I didn’t think we were playing well at all and keep looking ‘Are we down 10? Are we down 12?’ and we have to find a way to make up that difference somehow. Love that Darius (Garland) had another seven assists, Cedi (Osman) did a great job as well, but Oklahoma City is just flat out better than us and they showed that.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
Now halfway through their homestand, the Cavaliers welcome the Timberwolves to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Sunday night before closing out the four-game stay on Tuesday night against the Pistons.
John Beilein’s young squad then embarks on the longest junket of the season – a six-game, 11-day trip with meetings against the Pistons, Nuggets, Lakers, Clippers, Grizzlies and Bulls.