Thunder Host The Cavaliers Thursday Night

Wednesday, February 8th 2017, 4:57 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

Russell Westbrook and the Thunder will be back at home on Thursday night when OKC hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m.

Related: Thunder Fall On The Road To Pacers

Here’s what you need to know about the matchup:

Cavs playing well

Not only to the Cavaliers sit with the best record in the Eastern Conference, but Cleveland has won six of its last seven games, including a 107-91 dismantling of the Thunder back on Jan. 29.

Even with the drama surrounding the team regarding a possible Carmelo Anthony trade and LeBron James calling for another superstar, the Cavs don’t seem distracted. The addition of Kyle Korver has helped to improve an already solid 3-point shooting team, while the usual cast of characters in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are playing all-star basketball while tuning out all the noise.

OKC shot only 37-percent from the field in the first meeting in Cleveland while turning the ball over six more times than the Cavs. Still without the services of Enes Kanter, the Thunder will need to play a nearly perfect game on both sides of the ball in order to protect its home court and pull off the upset win.

LeBron may not play

Cavaliers' head coach Tyron Lue didn't make anything official, but after Wednesday night's win over the Pacers, Lue said if James logs heavy minutes against Indiana that he'll likely take the next game off. He also said Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love may sit out as well. 

If James does indeed sit, this will be the second time in the last three years that he has sat out to rest when the Cavaliers have come to OKC. 


Last time out

Despite winning its two previous games, the Thunder lost to the Pacers by three points on Monday on the second night of a back-to-back. Westbrook had two shots to tie it in the final seconds, and his second attempt went in-and-out to seal the Pacers win.

It was a game OKC should’ve won, especially since the Thunder outrebounded the Pacers 61-to-37 and tallied 11 blocks, but made only 7-of-28 shots from behind the arc. OKC held a 15-point lead in the second quarter, but Paul George and the Pacers had a big second half and held on for the win.

Don’t look past the Cavs

You don’t often worry about overlooking the defending NBA Champs, but with Kevin Durant’s return to OKC looming at the end of the week, you never know if some of the players could be a bit distracted. It’s not ideal to play the two best teams in the league in back-to-back games, but the Thunder will need to take a one game at a time approach.