Oklahoma City, OK, United States (4E Sports) – Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and 10 assists, powering the Oklahoma City Thunder to their fourth straight win with a 106-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Kevin Durant added 26 points and eight rebounds as the Thunder grabbed solo lead in the Northwest Division with a 5-2 record, overtaking the Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2).
Emerging as an effective replacement for former top sixth man James Harden, Kevin Martin scored 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 30 minutes of action off the bench.
Serge Ibaka’s defense also played a big part in the win, swatting seven enemy shots to go with 14 points and seven rebounds while center Kendrick Perkins had 10 markers for the Thunder.
Kyrie Irving scored 20 points for the Cavaliers, who suffered their third straight setback after beating the heavily favored Los Angeles Clippers, 108-101, last Nov. 5.
Alonzo Gee scored 18 points, reserve Daniel Gibson had 16 and Tristan Thompson had 10 for the Cavaliers (2-5), who dropped to fourth in the Central Division, ahead of the winless Detroit Pistons (0-7).
Rookie Dion Waiters, who scored 23 points against the Phoenix Suns, was limited to eight points on 3-for-6 shooting in 21 minutes of action.
Anderson Varejao also failed to assert his might inside the shaded lane. Averaging 14 points and 14 rebounds, Varejao tallied just six points and eight rebounds against the Thunder.
With Irving and Waiters leading the way, the Cavaliers came out firing and led by 17-7 midway through the first quarter.
The Thunder, however, outscored the Cavaliers the rest of the period, 20-4, behind Westbrook, Durant, Ibaka and Martin.
Oklahoma extended its lead to 13, 57-44, after two foul shots by Westbrook before Irving buried a jumper before the halftime buzzer sounded.
In the third period, the Cavaliers trimmed the lead to three, 76-73, after three foul shots by Gibson but Westbrook was there to douse the rally with a three-pointer.
In the fourth, Martin buried a jumper to extend the Thunder’s lead to 104-85 with less than three minutes in the game.