Thunder (9-13) 103, Cavaliers (13-8) 94
In the first game of Thursday night’s TNT double-header, LeBron James sat out due to left knee soreness and Oklahoma City ended the Cavs’ win streak at eight games. A scary moment occurred at the end of the first half as Kyrie Irving (20 points, 5 assists, 2 steals) landed awkwardly on his left leg while defending a Russell Westbrook jumper. Luckily for Cleveland, Uncle Drew’s injury was not serious and Irving would make a second half return. He should be healthy enough to play tonight against New Orleans.
However, it was OKC’s all-star PG who truly stole the show. Russell Westbrook was a menace; he raced around the court, doing it all in typical #0 fashion to finish with 26 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. The defending league MVP didn’t play too shabby either—KD quietly put up 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Durant was just 2-10 from the field until busting loose and going 4-4 for 8 points in the final two minutes of the game with Irving attempting to defend him (key word: attempting). Steven Adams added toughness in the paint, scoring 8 points and grabbing 10 boards for the now-full strength Thunder. Matthew Dellavedova started for Cleveland in place of LeBron and posted a statline of 14/5/4, Kevin Love had 18/16 and Tristan Thompson came off the bench to provide 14/13 in the loss.
Rockets (17-5) 113, Kings (11-12) 109
James Harden is a bad, bad man. The Kings had every reason to fear the beard at home last night as the Rockets shooting guard scored 44 points, dished out 8 assists and garnered three steals in 48 minutes of play. Patrick Beverley controlled the tempo and boasted 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists while Trevor Ariza played his game and came up big on both ends with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. But Harden was the game’s real MVP (and possibly so far in the league this season) and he made it known down the stretch, especially. After hitting a looong three to tie things up and send the game to overtime, dude proceeded to score Houston’s first 10 points in the extra period to lead his squad to a four-point victory.
There were quite a few bright spots for Sacramento in defeat. Darren Collison has enjoyed a career year in his first season with the Kings, averaging nearly 17 points a game to go along with 6 assists per outing. He kept up his stellar play with 24 points, 7 assists and 3 steals while Ben McLemore dropped 21 on 9-15 shooting. Rudy Gay approached triple double numbers with 13, 8 and 8, Jason Thompson posted 13 and 15 and Derrick Williams scored 17. DeMarcus Cousins’ absence from the lineup due to viral meningitis continues to plague Sac-town; the Kings are now 2-6 without Boogie. Dwight Howard missed his 11th straight game for the Rockets with a knee injury.