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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Cavs at Thunder

By Jason Lloyd Published: March 9, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers (14-23) at Oklahoma City Thunder (31-8)
Time: 8 p.m.; Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena; TV/Radio: Fox Sports Ohio, WUAB/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving (18.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.2 apg), SG Anthony Parker (5.8, 2.3, 2.2), SF Alonzo Gee (10.2, 4.2, 1.6), PF Antawn Jamison (18.3, 6.6, 2.0), C Ryan Hollins (3.5, 2.1, 0.3)
Thunder probables: PG Russell Westbrook (23.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.6 apg), SG Daequan Cook (5.7, 2.6, 0.3), SF Kevin Durant (28.1, 7.9, 3.3), PF Serge Ibaka (8.5, 7.8, 0.4), C Kendrick Perkins (4.4, 6.5, 1.0)
Injuries: Cavs -- Anderson Varejao (wrist), Thunder -- Eric Maynor (knee) out, Thabo Sefolosha (foot) out
Officials: James Capers, Matt Boland, Tony Brown

* This is why it was so important for the Cavs to steal that win in Denver on Wednesday. The Thunder have the league's best home record (17-1) and an incredible home-court advantage. They've won 14 straight at home and they have the best overall record in the NBA. In other words, the task facing the Cavs tonight is enormous.

* The Thunder rallied at home from 16 down to stun the SUns on Wednesday. It was the team's biggest comeback in 15 months and they did it exactly how they've been winning games all season -- with explosive scoring and stingy defenes in the fourth quarter.

* Over their last nine games, the Thunder are holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. The Suns were just 3 of 17 in the fourth, when the Thunder outscored them 31-16.

* Both Antawn Jamison and Byron Scott were lamenting today how explosive the Thunder can be offensively. They're so fast and athletic that a turnover almost always feels like 2 points the other way. They average 16.8 turnovers and 17.8 assists. Championship teams typically turn it over less and create more assists, but Scott sais they get by because so many guys can get off their own shots.

* In Wednesday's big win against the Suns, Russell Westbrook (31 points), Kevin Durant (30 points) and James Harden (career high 30 points) became the first trio to score 30 points in a game in franchise history since Dale Ellis, Tom Chambers and Xavier McDaniel did it for the Seattle SuperSonics on Feb. 26, 1988. Even more spectacular, Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 20 rebounds. It marked the first time in NBA history a team had three 30-point scorers and another player grab at least 20 rebounds in more than 43 years.

* The Cavs have made no secret they're using the Oklahoma City model for their rebuilding project. The core of the Thunder were built through three drafts from 2007-09. Durant (No. 2 overall) and Jeff Green (No. 5 overall) came in the '07 draft, Westbrook (No. 4 overall) and Ibaka (No. 24 overall) came in '08 and James Harden (No. 3 overall) was drafted in '09. Green was traded last year for Kendrick Perkins.

* The Cavs had two high picks in last year's draft, just like the Thunder did in '07 (Green came in a trade for Ray Allen), they're actively pursuing another first-round pick for this summer's draft and they already have two first-round picks in next summer's draft. The foundation for the Cavs is in place, now they just have to draft the right guys.

* Today is the four-week mark since Anderson Varejao fractured his wrist. He will likely be re-examined tomorrow after the team returns home from this trip. The initial diagnosis was 4 to 6 weeks.

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