The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a 120-112 win over the Big Three of Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena to extend their winning streak to four games. It was also the second consecutive victory for the team since they acquired George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. at the trade deadline.
LeBron James had another huge night for the Cavs, scoring 37 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing out eight assists in 40 minutes of playing time for head coach Tyronn Lue. His new teammates played big as well, with Clarkson, Hood, and Nance all scoring in double digits coming off the bench with 14, 14, and 13 points respectively, via ESPN.
Cavaliers’ mainstays J.R. Smith and Jeff Green both played well offensively with the former netting 18 points for Cleveland, shooting 6-for-9 from three-point range, while the latter added 10 points as a substitute.
Reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are both back for the Thunder after missing the previous two games because of ankle injuries.
Paul George led OKC with 25 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists while Anthony contributed 24 points and 7 boards. Westbrook struggled throughout the game, scoring only 3 points in the fourth period and finishing with 21 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds. Steven Adams had 22 points and 17 rebounds in a monster performance for the Thunder.
The game was close from the opening whistle as both teams traded baskets. Smith continued his re-emergence with a hot start, going 4-for-4 from three-point range in the first quarter to help the Cavs edge the Thunder, 29-28.
Adams provided the only consistent performance for head coach Billy Donovan’s side early in the game, finishing the half with 15 points and 7 boards as the trio of Westbrook, Anthony, and George have all struggled on both ends of the floor.
Westbrook showed some signs of rust early on as he appeared to be out of rhythm with his dribbles and jump shots. He was called for a technical foul with 3:14 left in the first period after contesting a non-call during one of his drives to the basket.
James finished the half with 16 points to lead the Cavs to a 62-57 halftime lead. Smith was the only other Cleveland player in double figures at that time with 15.
LeBron continued his assault in the second half by unloading 14 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter. The Thunder answered with an 8-0 run after a timeout to trim the gap to two points, 78-76, halfway through the period.
James slowed down in the final period, scoring only 4 points since entering the game in the 8:12 mark of the fourth quarter. However, the plays of Green and newcomers Clarkson, Hood, and Nance helped the Cavs stay afloat.
Clarkson and Nance were particularly excellent in crunch time as the two combined for 10 of the Cavaliers’ last 14 points in the game.
The Cavs acquired Hill, Hood, Clarkson, and Nance in separate deadline day blockbusters last week. The team first traded Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and their 2018 first-round draft pick to the Lakers for Clarkson and Nance before getting Hill and Hood in a three-way trade with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings, as per CBS Sports.
Cleveland will next face the Washington Wizards at home on February 22, Thursday, while Oklahoma City visits the Grizzlies tomorrow night in Memphis.