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February 27, 2014

Cavaliers add to Thunder’s losing skid

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Irving led all scorers with 31 points to go along with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. Jack scored 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Hawes added 19 points and seven rebounds. Forward Tristan Thompson had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Durant paced the Thunder with 28 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Westbrook chipped in with 24 points and nine assists. Ibaka had a solid night with 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.

“We gave up 42 points in the fourth quarter,” Durant said. “I can’t even explain it. Defense is more about second and third effort. Energy and effort. Knowing the schemes and just playing hard. We’ll be all right.”

Despite the recent rumors of him leaving Cleveland, Irving showed no signs that he’s letting the talk get to him. He started the night attacking the Thunder with his dribble and his shot. That included breaking down guard Thabo Sefolosha for a layup in the first period.

“He’s a great player,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It seems like he has the ball on a string. His layup game is one of the best in basketball, and his 3-point shooting is really good. You have to make sure you don’t give him any easy shots.”

Cleveland had a four-point lead with less than a minute to go in the first half, but consecutive buckets by Durant and Westbrook put the Thunder up 52-51 heading into halftime. That included Westbrook draining a 3-pointer in Irving’s face before the buzzer sounded.

“We lost,” Westbrook said. “No matter how I play, I could make 50 points, but if we lose, it doesn’t matter. This league is all about wins. It’s not about individual performances. Every night you want to come out and win games. It’s based on winning games, whether or not you win a championship.”

Michael Kinney

Follow me @eyeamtruth

mkinney@normantranscript.com

 

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