The Great, Not So Great, and Bottom Line of Cavs’ win over Thunder

Without Donovan Mitchell(lower leg) and Kevin Love(back), the Cavaliers concluded their three-game homestand against the Thunder Saturday night on the second half of a back-to-back.

Mitchell and Love both missed Friday’s loss to the Kings, where the Cavs were shocked by Sacramento 106-95. Fortunately, Saturday night was a different story as the Cavs defeated OKC 110-102.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Thunder

Great:

Evan Mobley had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Mobley was big in the fourth, where he scored 12 points, including two threes.

Jarrett Allen was also big-time for the Cavs. He had 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Thunder had a hard time keeping off the glass as Allen had six offensive rebounds. In addition, he feasted at the line as he made seven of his 13 free throw attempts.

Caris LeVert had a team-high 22 points, including four threes. He also added four rebounds and four assists.

Fourth Quarter: On Friday, the Kings had a 19-0 run to close the game after the Cavs had an eight-point lead with just under five minutes left.

Against OKC, Cleveland took a 10-point lead into the fourth. However, the Thunder went on a 17-7 run to tie things up at 89 with just over seven minutes to go. The Cavs came back with a 15-4 run to take an 11-point with just over three minutes left, and at that point, Cleveland was in control.

Not So Great:

Darius Garland’s turnovers: Garland had six of the team’s 13 turnovers. 

Bottom Line:

Nice win for the Cavs after falling apart late against Sacramento. Everyone contributed as all five starters ended the night in double figures. The Kings punched the Cavs in the mouth, and they dropped, and OKC did the same. However, Cleveland responded with a few jabs of their own, which got them the victory.

What’s Next:

Cleveland begins a two-game road trip in Texas, starting with the Spurs on Monday night.

Best of the Rest:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 23 points; Aleksej Pokusevski had 16 points and a season-high tying 14 rebounds. Josh Giddey added 17 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists.

For the Cavs, Darius Garland had 13 points and eight assists; Lamar Stevens added 10 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and a block.

Junkyard Dog:

Evan Mobley got the “Junkyard Dog” award for his impressive performance against OKC.

Suns’ Ayton: ‘I feel like I should thank the NBA for gifting me with a Christmas gift of playing on Christmas Day’

The Phoenix Suns continued their winning ways Thursday night as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-101 at Footprint Center.

Devin Booker scored a game-high 30 points, 15 of which came in the third quarter, to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Suns(26-5) extended their winning streak to five games, and also extended their home winning streak to 15.

After trailing by five in the third, Phoenix used a 28-10 run to take complete control of the game, and OKC never threatened after that. 

Now, it’s onto their big Christmas Day showdown against the Warriors(26-6) at Footprint Center. The last time the Suns played on Christmas Day was back in 2009.

Many of Phoenix’s players have not experienced Christmas Day basketball, including Deandre Ayton and Cam Johnson, and both are super excited.

“I’m not going to lie, I feel like I should thank the NBA for gifting me with a Christmas gift of playing on Christmas Day,” Ayton, who added 19 points and 12 rebounds against OKC, said. “A lot of guys that aren’t playing on Christmas are going to be opening their gifts, probably working out, probably getting ready for the next game, but me, I got kids waking up to go see Deandre and the Phoenix Suns play. That’s an honor. You can’t take that for granted. Stuff like that is just hard work. People recognizing us, just winning and stuff like that, and this is the reward. We just have to be grateful and not take it for granted at all.”

Cam Johnson, who scored 21 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field, including a 5-of-5 from downtown against OKC, added: “I’ll be honest with you, I’m viewing it as my first time, ever in my life, playing a basketball game on Christmas—watched NBA games every Christmas since I was a little kid, just the opportunity to go and play in that game. I like the time of the game, 3 P.M.; I’m hoping it stays that way, we show up, get to it. It’s like a dream come true, playing on Christmas, getting out there, and I’m just super excited for that. Never mind whatever else might be going around, just excited to have that game.”

Phoenix is 1-1 against the Warriors this season, and both games had a playoff feel. According to Chris Paul, playing Golden State is a good test for the Suns.

“Playing against Golden State, they always make you think, playing against the Lakers, Milwaukee, all those good teams,” he said. “They’re going to make you think the game, so it’s always a good test for us because every team is different.”

Phoenix and Golden State are the two best teams in basketball, so Saturday’s game against the Warriors should be a lot of fun.

Watch below as Ayton talks win over OKC, playing Warriors on Christmas Day:

Steven Adams signs contract extension with Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans and center Steven Adams have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s two-year, $35 million extension.

The 27-year old Adams was acquired by New Orleans in a four-team trade involving Denver, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City.

The seven-year veteran spent his entire seven-year career with the Thunder.  In 2019-20, Adams averaged 10.9 points on .592 shooting from the floor, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks.

Selected 12th overall out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 2013 NBA Draft, Adams ranks fifth all-time in OKC/Seattle franchise history in blocks (531) and first in field goal percentage.