OKC Thunder (35-11, 15-8 road) at Cleveland Cavaliers (13-34, 6-13 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.4 (1st), Cavs– 103.2 (21st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.3 (8th), Cavs – 109.1 (27th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (8th), Cavs – 92.2 (11th)
View from the enemy: Cavs: The Blog
“Well, we’re back, in the car again.” — Tim in Jurassic Park. That’s how I feel about this game. A quick stop at home and then back on the road for the Thunder. It’s only a one-game trip before they return home and it’s not against a marquee team, but with fewer and fewer games to play, every game is really starting to count atop the Western Conference.
The Cavs mostly stink, especially after losing Anderson Varejao for the season, but Kyrie Irving is real and spectacular, Tristan Thompson is an improving young talent and Dion Waiters can at times, fill it up. They’re a young, raw, sometimes exciting but often frustrating team. A lot like the Thunder a few years ago.
What makes this game a little more intriguing than it otherwise would be is the Russell Westbrook situation created entirely by Russell Westbrook. With a bunch of chatter the past day about his demeanor and attitude, how does he respond tonight? Most likely, he’ll play his usual caution-to-the-wind kind of game, but still, the way he interacts and handles any kind of adversity will be something to keep an eye on.
No excuse to lose. Lots of reason to win.
Cleveland coming in: The Cavs played last night, getting worked by the Pistons.
Three Big Things
1. Westbrook. Same thing I said above. His play tonight is going to be something intriguing to watch, especially if it’s not good. How does he act? Respond? Interact with his teammates?
2. Focus. There have been some serious distractions over the past 24 hours or so, so blocking all that out and just playing ball is important. The Cavs don’t have the manpower or talent to match up with OKC and really the only thing standing in the Thunder’s way would be a completely braindead game.
3. Kyrie. Or Kyrie Irving. He could stand in OKC’s way. He’s always a threat to completely go off and take over. Guard him.
Tip at 6:30 CT. Go Mindset.