3 min read

Preview 58 of 82: Cavs @ Thunder

Preview 58 of 82: Cavs @ Thunder

Time: 7:00 PM CT


Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)

Game Notes: Thunder / Cavs

The Oklahoma City Thunder (32-25) is 5-5 over the last 10 games and currently a game up on Portland for fifth place in the Western Conference. Although the Thunder is two games behind Minnesota for fourth in the standings, only two games separate OKC and the ninth-place Los Angeles Clippers. With just 25 contests remaining in the regular season, every opponent is quickly becoming an important one.

The Thunder faces the Cleveland Cavaliers (33-22) tonight in Oklahoma City, a group that hardly resembles the team OKC beat by 24 points less than a month ago. After a busy trade deadline that essentially re-built the roster on the fly, the Cavs’ newcomers to watch for include Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood. In their first full game together, Cleveland dismantled the Boston Celtics by a final score of 121-99. Growing pains figure to be in their immediate future, but with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony questionable with ankle sprains, LeBron James & Co. could potentially face a short-handed Thunder squad.

Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT and the game will be televised on TNT and Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is currently a 2-point favorite according to OddsShark.

Update: Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are active tonight.

Injury Report


  • Russell Westbrook: Active – Ankle
  • Carmelo Anthony: Active – Ankle
  • Andre Roberson: Out – Knee


  • Kevin Love: Out — Hand

Probable Starters

Cavs: George Hill, JR Smith, Cedi Osman, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson




Four Factors


Synergy Sports

Click to Enlarge

Thunder O & D

Cavs O & D

Previous Results

1/20: OKC 148, CLE 124 [BOX SCORE]


Russ & Melo. Although Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony remain questionable with ankle sprains, both practiced yesterday and went through today’s shoot-around session. It’s possible the Thunder rests them again with only two games remaining before the All-Star break, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see one, if not both, back tonight.

The LeBron Factor. The Thunder held LeBron James to 18 points on 8/17 shooting on January 20, but such complete efforts are uncommon against King James. Beating the Cavaliers is more about stopping everyone else than it is stopping LeBron himself. The Thunder is down a monster defensive piece in Andre Roberson, thus making life easier for the kid from Akron. Paul George will draw the unenviable task of trying to make James’ life difficult.

Three-Point Shooting. The Thunder is the 26th-ranked team in the league when it comes to three-point shooting — not great. However, OKC hit 16 deep balls on Sunday versus the Grizzlies and 14 in the January 20 win over the Cavs. Carrying some recent momentum from downtown would be a win for OKC.

Steven Adams. Big Kiwi dominated the Cavs on January 20, dropping 25 points and 10 rebounds on 12/13 shooting. The Cavs lack a player capable of matching up with Adams, so a strong performance out of the big man would go a long way.

Jerami & Alex. Jerami Grant and Alex Abrines were both instrumental in Sunday’s win over Memphis. Grant scored 14 points in 25 minutes, with Abrines scoring 16 points in 37 minutes. They are both horribly inconsistent but the Thunder is far better when it receives contributions from unlikely sources. The Cavs’ bench is more formidable after the trade deadline, so one, or both, of Abrines and Grant will need to be effective.