Streaking Cavaliers beat Thunder for sixth win in seven games
CLEVELAND — Darius Garland had 23 points and 11 assists and rookie Evan Mobley had a season-high 15 points and 17 rebounds to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Oklahoma City Thunder 94-87 on Saturday night.
Jarrett Allen added 14 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland, which built a 74-57 lead in the third quarter and never allowed the Thunder to get closer than six points in the fourth. The Cavaliers have won six of their last seven games.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City across the board with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Kenrich Williams scored 12 points and Luguentz Dort scored 10 points before being sent off for elbowing Kevin Love in the head.
Mobley, USC’s third draft pick, has nine double-doubles in 39 professional games. Garland had his sixth double-double in the past seven games and is averaging 21.0 points and 12.3 assists in that span.
Cleveland lost forward Lauri Markkanen to a sprained right ankle in the second quarter; he was helped into the locker room and did not return.
Dort received a flagrant 2 for hitting Love after the whistle on a loose ball rush. Love received a personal foul before absorbing the elbow.
The Thunder, who have wrapped up a four-game road trip, have lost five straight and 10 of their last 11 games. Oklahoma City starting box Dort, Darius Bazley and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl shot a total of 5 for 25 from the field.
Cedi Osman had 10 points off the bench for the Cavaliers, who went 18 of 35 from the foul line and missed 21 of 27 3-point attempts.
Cleveland took the biggest first-half lead at 47-37, but Oklahoma City responded with eight straight runs before intermission, capped by a Gilgeous-Alexander 3-pointer.
Mobley scored seven points and Allen had six in the first quarter as Cleveland took a 24-22 lead. Bazley had four points and six rebounds for Oklahoma City.
The Thunder didn’t check into their downtown Cleveland hotel until 8 a.m. due to winter travel delays in Charlotte after their 121-98 loss to the Hornets on Friday.
The Oklahoma City team bus got stuck on an icy road en route to the airport, forcing several members of its traveling party to disembark to help get it to safety. The Thunder also had to change planes at 5 a.m.
“It was tough for the guys, but those experiences are a bit unifying,” said coach Mark Daigneault. “When we got off the hotel elevator, people were already having breakfast, which added to the time we tried to get here.”
Thunder: Oklahoma City is guaranteed to end January with a losing record, marking the eighth straight month it has done so. … Rookie goaltender Vit Krejci (sprained right ankle), who scored two points in nine minutes this season, missed his fifth straight game. … Guard Theo Maledon, center Aleksej Pokusevski and center Isaiah Roby are on assignment in the G League with the Oklahoma City Blue, alongside two-way guard Paul Watson. … The Thunder lost at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for the first time since Jan. 29, 2017.
Riders: Guard Rajon Rondo (right hamstring pain) missed his sixth straight game. Rondo has only appeared in three games since being acquired from the Lakers in a three-team trade on Jan. 3. … Guard Lamar Stevens (left knee pain), who started seven straight games before being injured at Oklahoma City on Jan. 15, has returned from a two-game absence. … Two-way guard RJ Nembhard scored 33 points for Cleveland’s charge of the G League earlier in the day at the Raptors 905.
Thunder: Host Chicago on Wednesday night.
Riders: New York host Monday night.