CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers pulled within five points in the final minutes after trailing by 24 in the fourth quarter before falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-95 on Thursday.
Kevin Durant had 35 points and 11 rebounds against an injury-ravaged Cavs team that dressed just nine healthy bodies. The Thunder sat Russell Westbrook and still led by 17 entering the fourth, then extended the lead to 95-71 with 6:33 left.
But the Cavs scored 21 of the game’s next 23 points to pull within 97-92 on a layup from Dion Waiters with 1:12 left. The Thunder survived after Serge Ibaka got an offensive rebound off a miss on the Thunder’s next possession, then Durant made a pair of free throws to seal it.
Waiters scored 30 points for the Cavs and Spencer Hawes had 20. Matthew Dellavedova had 11 points and 10 assists off the bench for his first career double-double.
Despite missing Kyrie Irving, Luol Deng and C.J. Miles, among others, the game was still tied 3:11 prior to halftime. But the Thunder scored the final seven points of the second quarter to carry a 56-46 lead into the half. Durant made all five of his shots in the quarter after a slow start and the Thunder rolled in the second half.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks appeared content to rest Durant for the entire fourth quarter, but was forced to reinsert him late during the Cavs’ furious rally.
Ibaka had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who crushed the Cavs in rebounding 53-36.