NBA Game of the Week Preview: Cavaliers at Thunder
Cavaliers at Thunder
The new-look Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a great start, and the fresh influx of players seems to be rejuvenating the team. The Cavaliers will try to earn their second win with Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., George Hill and Rodney Hood on board when they visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
Cleveland overhauled the roster at Thursday’s trade deadline and finally got the new players on the court together Sunday at Boston, just in time to demolish the Celtics in a 121-99 victory. “It started with George and his on-the-ball pressure and him just running the team,” LeBron James told reporters. “And then the three guys came off the bench. Jordan was — he’s ready to score at any time, but his composure was great. Rodney plays with so much poise, and Larry was just controlling the perimeter, setting great pick-and-rolls. Got him a lob, got him a dunk, so it was a good start for the new guys, a good start for all of us with our revamped team so far.” The Thunder revamped their team over the summer with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and Anthony both sat out Sunday with ankle injuries, but George was able to lead the way in a 110-92 win over Memphis.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Oklahoma
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (33-22): Hill, Clarkson and Hood combined to go 8-of-14 from 3-point range and Cleveland shot 53.6 percent from the floor against a Boston team that leads the NBA in field-goal percentage defense. “I thought our spirit was different,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. “I didn’t know what the outcome would be. But I knew we would compete and play hard. Move the basketball and move bodies. Those guys are flying around, and it was good to see.” James was happy to play distributor for his new teammates and finished with 10 assists.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (32-25): George recorded 33 points and eight assists with Westbrook, Anthony and Andre Roberson (knee) out on Sunday. “It was fun to go out to battle with those guys, I think more so just doing it together with three of our soldiers down,” George told reporters. “It was fun to take on this challenge, to stay with that winning spirit here regardless of who’s in or who’s out.” Westbrook and Anthony were late scratches in each of the last two games and remain day-to-day while they continue treatment.
1. Cavaliers SG JR Smith is 14-of-24 from 3-point range over the last four games.
2. The Thunder tied a franchise record with 16 made 3-pointers on Sunday.
3. Oklahoma City cruised to a 148-124 win at Cleveland behind 36 points from George on Jan. 20.