OKLAHOMA CITY, Sporting Alert – LeBron James flirted with a triple-double and four Cleveland starters scored in double-figures in the Cavaliers’ 115-92 victory over Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.
James scored 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting and added 11 assists and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers (40-14) who shot 51.3 percent from the field.
James, who played 38 minutes and took over the point guard role when Kyrie Irving left the game early with flu-like symptoms, also had three steals in the win.
“He couldn’t even walk through today, and then he said he was going to try to play the game, start the game and see how he feels,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said about Irving, who played a little over nine-minutes and scored two points before heading to the locker room after the first quarter.
Kevin Love poured in 29 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, J.R. Smith made five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 15 points and Richard Jefferson went 4-of-5 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, in adding 15 points and six boards off the bench for Cleveland which won five in a row.
Tristan Thompson ended with 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Kevin Durant paced Oklahoma City with 26 points and five rebounds and Russell Westbrook contributed 20 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who were losing their second straight at home following the defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
It was the most lopsided defeat of the season for Oklahoma City, which shot just 22.7 percent from 3-point range and 41.1 percent overall, but star forward Durant wasn’t too worried about it.
“We aren’t going to go home and think it’s the end of the world,” Durant said. “We lost a game against a good team.
“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what we need to do better and move on.”
The Cavaliers played without shooting guard Iman Shumpert, who sat out the game with a sprained left shoulder, and fellow guard Mo Williams, who missed the contest due to a sore left knee.
Lue was impressed by the way other players stepped up.
“It just shows our team is willing to step up when guys go down,” he said. “Same situation last year. When guys went down, we were able to make it to the Finals.
“These guys step up. They play hard, they play for each other. If they continue to do that, they’ll be fine.”
Sunday’s game saw six lead changes and three ties while Oklahoma City biggest lead was three points and the Cavaliers led by as many as 26 points.