Oklahoma City (28-19) at Cleveland (31-14)
When: Sunday, January 29th 2017
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 3:35 ET | TV: ABC
The Cleveland Cavaliers will look for back-to-back wins when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon in a nationally televised game on ABC. Cleveland had dropped three in a row and six of eight, but took out some frustration on the worst team in the league and defeated the Brooklyn Nets 124-116 behind 31 points and 11 assists from LeBron James. The bigger story with this team right now is the rumored turmoil between James and owner Dan Gilbert, who don’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to the direction of the franchise. Kyrie Irving added 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting in Friday’s win as Cleveland became the first team in the Eastern Conference to record 20 wins at home. Reserve shooting guard Kyle Korver finished with 14 points while making 3-of-6 from 3-point range and is feeling more comfortable with his new team. Korver is 20-for-41 from three-point range over the past seven games. Forward Kevin Love has recorded four consecutive double-doubles but is shooting only 35.2% from the field in January. James averaged 29 points and 11 assists as Cleveland swept two games from Oklahoma City last season.
The Thunder now have to deal with a significant injury to their squad as center Enes Kanter broke his arm punching a chair in a 109-98 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. Kanter underwent surgery Friday and is expected to be re-evaluated in four weeks, leaving Oklahoma City without its third-leading scorer and rebounder. That was the Thunder’s third-straight victory as they were coming home after a 3-3 road trip, but now must go back out and play the next two away from home against Cleveland and San Antonio. The injury to Kanter will put more pressure on star Russell Westbrook to do well. The All-Star reserve had 45 points against Dallas, although his streak of consecutive triple-doubles ended at three. Oklahoma City could get some help from backup center Steven Adams, who is averaging 17.5 points and nine rebounds in the last two games. Three-point shooting has been an issue for the Thunder this season as they rank 29th in the league at 32.7%. Their 3-point defense has been good, but it will have to great against the Cavs who are third in the league from long range (38.4%).
Cleveland has really been struggling and they didn’t even look great against Brooklyn. I think Westbrook has a monster game and keeps the Thunder in it til the end.
Pick: Thunder +7