Paul George’s 36 points and Russell Westbrook’s 20 assists were the highlights of the night as the Oklahoma City Thunder completely outplayed the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena. In another game, Chris Paul’s 33 points were enough to sink conference leaders at the Toyota Center.
Oklahoma City Thunder 148 – 124 Cleveland Cavaliers
Right from the start, the Thunder looked like they were up for a fight in the Cavaliers’ background as they rushed to a 10-2 lead in just over three minutes. With some quick transitions and great perimeter shooting, the Thunder were just overpowering the Cavs and finished the first quarter with the scoreboard reading an incredible 43-24 to the visitors. Following the interval, it looked like the Cavs were clawing their way back into the game as with an 8-0 run, they reduced the deficit to 11 points. Halfway into the second quarter, the lead had been cut to just eight points but Carmelo Anthony and Paul George ensured that the Thunder held a double-digit lead going into the second half.
The Thunder started the third quarter in a rush again and took their lead to twenty within a minute. The Cavs kept putting up points through Isaiah Thomas and LeBron James but defensively there were struggling to keep up with the stronger and faster Thunder trio of Carmelo, George and Russell Westbrook and inside the third quarter saw OKC take their score into triple digits. The result was inevitable and the only question that remained was how big the margin would be. That was answered at the end of the game as four of OKC’s starting five managed to finish with over 20 points as they secured the win with the scoreboard reading 148-124.
Golden State Warriors 108 – 116 Houston Rockets
The Warriors got off to good start with two quick buckets but thanks to James Harden’s three consecutive threes the Rockets took a seven-point lead. However, a Nick Young triple from the corner reduced the deficit to just two points. However, Chris Paul looked in no mood to let the momentum swing the Warriors way and ensured that by the time the first quarter came to an end, the Rockets had 40 points on the board and led the visitors by 12 points. The Rockets led by as many as 17 points in the second but once the Splash Brothers, Curry and Thompson, were back on the court, it resulted in the hosts going into the midgame interval with just a seven-point lead.
Coming into the second half, Durant’s four-point play reduced the gap to just four points. After big threes from Harden and Paul had kept the hosts at a comfortable distance, Curry and Durant returned the favour to make it a one-point game. With 47 seconds to go in the quarter, the Rockets led by seven but back to back shots from the perimeter by Young ensured that the at the start of the final quarter, the scoreboard would only reflect a one-point lead for the hosts. Coming into money time, the Warriors had finally found their groove with players shooting threes for fun as they took a four-point lead with six minutes to go. But the Rockets, though some perimeter shooting of their own, went on a 14-2 run to take the game away from the Champions. The game eventually ended 116-108 to take the Rockets’ winning streak to two.