Not only did the Cavaliers play their first game of the season without LeBron James, they ran into the NBA team least likely to show them any sympathy. The Thunder, who have only had both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in their lineup for the past five games, emphatically ended Cleveland’s eight-game winning streak Thursday, 103-94.
Westbrook, who returned from a broken right hand on Nov. 28, led Oklahoma City with 26 points and eight assists, adding seven rebounds and a steal. The all-star guard also had a highlight slam dunk, showing that his hand has healed nicely.
Kevin Durant, who came back from a broken foot on Dec. 2, chipped in with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Shooting guard Andre Roberson only had four points, but two of them came on this ridiculous dunk over Anderson Varejao:
Matthew Dellavedova started in place of James, who is considered day-to-day with knee soreness. Dellavedova acquitted himself well, hitting four of six three-pointers en route to 14 points, and Kyrie Irving shrugged off his own knee injury to lead the Cavs with 20.
But the night belonged to the Thunder, who are in no position to show any mercy. With Westbrook and Durant out with injuries, Oklahoma City started the season 4-12. In the five games that two have played together, OKC is 4-1, but the team’s 9-13 record still puts it in 12th place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
So the Thunder need every break they can get, and playing the Cavs on a night they were missing the league’s top player certainly qualified as a break. Finding themselves having to furiously make up ground in the standings, Westbrook and Co. simply told Cleveland, “Dunk you very much.”