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Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder 118 – Cavaliers 109 | Rapid Recap

The Thunder Guys

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The Thunder picked up a much-needed 118-109 win tonight over the Cleveland Cavaliers. This win came at a great time considering the upcoming schedule for Oklahoma City. It also proves that this team is capable of playing with the best in the league on any given night. The win can be contributed to an all out team effort, where just about everyone contributed on both offense and defense. Andre Roberson had an outstanding showing on defense against LeBron James, which was key to the win.

Oklahoma City got going at the beginning of the first, which forced the Cavs to call an early timeout. The defensive efforts of the Thunder gave them a 29-21 lead after the first quarter. Russell Westbrook did not make a field goal in the first quarter, but instead created shots for his teammates. The Thunder struggled to keep up the defensive intensity in the second quarter and allowed Cleveland to take a two-point lead at halftime. After a rough ending to the first half, the Thunder made the necessary adjustments and outscored the Cavs in both the third and fourth quarter. Oklahoma City took the lead in the middle of the third, and stayed in control for the remainder of the game.

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Russ Finishes Strong

Russell Westbrook had another MVP performance as he recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. However, a big chunk of this performance came during the second half. Russ was a -12 heading into halftime, and finished the game with a +3. He acted as more of a facilitator rather than a scorer during the first half. This provided more opportunities for other players to get involved and build confidence. When it came down to crunch time in the fourth quarter, Russ was just as clutch as ever and guided his team to a win.

The big second half and fourth quarter performances are nothing new for Westbrook, as he has been the most efficient player in the league during the end of the game. Leading his team to victories against the top teams in the NBA both on the road and at home are definitely helping his MVP campaign. If he continues to dominate in the clutch like he has been, it will be hard to choose anyone else for MVP.

Adams Showing Consistency

Steven Adams was one of the biggest talked about players on the Thunder roster this off-season. Many doubted that his contract was actually worth it. After a rough start to the season, largely due to injury, it seemed as if the doubters might actually be right. However, Adams is starting to pick up some steam as we reach the midway point to the season.

Adams finished the night with 20 points and 13 rebounds, which is above his season average. He brings an aggressive presence to the floor that simply wears down the other team. It is amazing that this guy is able to go out and do this on a nightly basis. The consistency of Adams over the last few games takes a lot of pressure off of guys like Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo when they know that he will pick up some of the scoring.

Cam Payne is Back

Cameron Payne has been back for awhile, but he certainly has not been the guy who we saw during the playoffs last season that left us with such high hopes for his second season in the NBA. Tonight was the first time that Payne looked like the guy we all know and love as he finished with 15 points while shooting 50% from the floor. If the Thunder can get this kind of performance from Payne off the bench on a regular basis, it will certainly help them pull out some of these close games that the team is falling short on. He did exactly what this team needs him to do tonight by knocking down good looks and being a facilitator while Westbrook gets some rest.

Warriors Come to Town

The Thunder will be back in action next when they take on the Golden State Warriors at the Peake on Saturday night. This will be the first time that Kevin Durant returns to Oklahoma City since his departure during last summer. Both Russ and the fans of the Thunder will be looking for revenge. The game will start at 7:30 PM CST and will be televised on ABC. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram. 

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