22-36 teams from the Eastern Conference are never supposed to go on the road and win against the best team in the Western Conference, but when the Cleveland Cavaliers touched down in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, that is exactly what happened.
The Cavs put together a highly impressive showing in stunning the Thunder, 114-104, and they were led by their best player in Kyrie Irving. The All-Star MVP finished with 31 points (on 10-19 from the floor and 4-7 from 3-point land), 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals in the game, and he was able to win the one on one match-up against the recently healthy Russell Westbrook (24 points, 9 assists). Irving’s performance was enormous in setting the tone for Cleveland in the game, and when he was flanked by all 5 starters in double-figures (21 points from Jarrett Jack and 19 points/7 rebounds from Spencer Hawes), it was more than enough to cruise to the double-digit win.
On the OKC side, Kevin Durant was Kevin Durant, but mysteriously, it wasn’t enough. The league’s leading MVP candidate posted a 28-point, 10-rebound, 9-assist night, but it was a complete three-man show with Durant, Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka (16 points, 13 rebounds), and outside of that, there wasn’t anything cooking. Cleveland’s defense certainly deserves a reasonable amount of credit, but there were a ton of shots that the Thunder normally convert that simply went begging.
Seeing the Thunder lose to a team that they aren’t supposed to lose to isn’t shocking in February, but this particular game was odd in that it was to a Eastern Conference bottom-feeder. Cleveland has been playing markedly better in February, but this was one in a shocker.