After gaining momentum with a six-game winning streak, the Cleveland Cavaliers (22-36, 9-21 away) found themselves in a three-game rut entering Wednesday’s contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder (43-15, 23-6 home). However, Cleveland grinded away in the fourth quarter in coming back to Cleveland with a victory over one of the League’s most elite clubs. The Cavaliers were able to leave Oklahoma City with a 114-104 victory, as all five of Cleveland’s starters ended with double digits.
Key Play to the Game
At the nine-minute mark in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Cavaliers were going to go on a streak against one of the best home teams in the Association and pull off an unlikely win. With the game tied at 81 apiece, veteran Derek Fisher stepped in the game to deliver a three-pointer that put the Thunder ahead, 84-81. From this point on, the Cavaliers used the same strategies and techniques displayed by Oklahoma City on Wednesday. From pushing up the court to using constant movement on offense to free open shooters, the Wine & Gold did everything in their power to hang with one of the best NBA squads in the fourth quarter. Just over four minutes remained in the game, and Kevin Durant had just hit a three off the pick-and-roll to put the Thunder up on the Cavs, 97-95. As long as it was in Kyrie’s power, this wasn’t going to stay the same. After getting off to a slow start from beyond the arc, Irving hit his fourth triple of the night to put Cleveland up 101-97. From there, the Cavaliers were able to play calm defense and wait for smart shots on offense. Making your free throws tends to help as well.
Wine & Gold MVP
Although Kyrie hasn’t been the same shooter since his MVP All-Star performance, he has been a better leader. His three-point shooting has been one of the few questionable areas of his game, but with eight minutes to go in the contest, Irving connected on his second three-pointer of the contest to tie the game at 86. Things continued to trend in Kyrie’s direction in the fourth quarter, as Irving went into the frame with just 17 points. By the time the quarter was over, Irving had amassed 14 fourth quarter points and almost single handily gave his team a pulse for the final 12 minutes. Kyrie finished with 31 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals, while shooting 10 of 19 from the field, 4 of 7 from three and 7 of 7 from the line. That’s an impressive line against an impressive team with a less-than-impressive lineup.
Cavs playing hard. Wish the effort of the last three weeks had been there all season.
— Mike Schreiner (@Mike_RDE) February 27, 2014
Cavs have shown genuine fight and resilience lately, even in losses. It’s just too little, too late.
— Mike Mayer (@RS64mikemayer) February 27, 2014
No quit in the Cavs.
— Dime Update (@DimeUpdate) February 27, 2014
Letsssss gooo!!! We ballin can’t wait to get back out there wit my brothers……. #believeland
— Dion Waiters (@dionwaiters3) February 27, 2014
Scott Brooks in disbelief that Sefolosha left Irving alone at the 3pt line. Can’t say I blame him
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) February 27, 2014
The Wine & Gold will look to build another momentous winning streak with a bout against the Utah Jazz at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers won the only previous matchup this season against the Jazz, which also happened to be Luol Deng’s first game in Cleveland colors. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28. Cleveland will try to push their winning ways — winning seven of their last 10 matches — at home against a team that should merit a victory for the Cavs. At this point, these games seem, without a doubt, winnable for Cleveland.