The game was billed a superstar showdown between Kevin Durant and LeBron James, and the two didn’t disappoint. James and the Cleveland Cavaliers got the last laugh as they secured a 104-100 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Cleveland’s victory put an end to the OKC’s six-game win streak. James scored 33 points and added 11 assists and nine rebounds. Kevin Durant scored 25 for the Thunder in the loss.
Both players hit the ground running as they combined to score 14 points (4-of-5 from 3-point range) in the first six minutes of the game. Interesting tidbit: according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Durant had been the only player to face James at least 10 times in the regular season and outscore him. OKC’s forward had a 412-410 edge entering Thursday’s game.
With Andre Roberson being the Thunder’s best wing defender, it was a safe assumption that he would defend James. That’s why it was a surprise that Durant ended up being the primary defender throughout the game. The only conceivable explanation is Durant personally requested the assignment, wanting to take on the challenge of checking James. By scoring 25 points, it’s hard to suggest that the defensive assignment slowed Durant down.
For the Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 15 rebounds off the bench. For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook actually led the team in scoring with 27 points and Serge Ibaka added 23. Oklahoma City’s bench scored just 16 points.