(Reuters) Paul George scored 36 points, Carmelo Anthony added a season-high 29 points with 10 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook recorded a season-best 20 assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder throttled the Cleveland Cavaliers 148-124 yesterday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Thunder led wire-to-wire in extending their winning streak to four games. Paul teamed with Steven Adams (25 points, 10 rebounds) to score the first 20 points for Oklahoma City, and when Westbrook added two free throws at the 6:45 mark of the first quarter, the Thunder lead 22-12.
Isaiah Thomas tallied 24 points for the Cavaliers, who’ve lost nine of 12 games. LeBron James finished with 18 points, leaving him seven shy of becoming the seventh player in league history with 30,000 career points. James added seven assists and finished minus-33 over 38 minutes.
Cleveland was a defensive sieve from the opening tip, allowing Adams easy access to the rim on deep post-ups and offensive rebounds while also surrendering open perimeter looks to George. The Thunder posted a season-high 43 points in the first quarter, shooting 63 percent (17-for-27), including 5-of-9 on 3s, as George and Adams combined for 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
The Thunder led by as many as 20 points in the first quarter. Cleveland fashioned a token rally behind its bench to open the second, cutting the deficit to nine points before Oklahoma City reclaimed momentum when its starters returned to action. George, Anthony and Westbrook scored the final 30 points of the half for the Thunder, and combined for 55 points at the break.
Oklahoma City led 76-60 at the break. Not only was Cleveland porous defensively, but the Cavaliers made just 2-of-16 3-pointers prior to the intermission. Cavaliers forward Kevin Love played just three minutes for Cleveland, departing early in the first quarter with an undisclosed illness.
Westbrook finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. Jae Crowder scored 17 points for the Cavaliers. The point total represented a season-high for the Thunder, eclipsing the 133 points scored against the Lakers on Jan. 3.