Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

George explodes for 36 points as OKC take down Cavs

George explodes for 36 points as OKC take down Cavs

The Oklahoma City Thunder accomplished something Saturday afternoon they had never done before, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland with LeBron James.

Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas spearheaded a brief second quarter run for the Cavaliers to pull the lead back to within 15 points before the four-pronged OKC offensive juggernaut kicked back into gear and extended the contest out of reach.

Paul George scored 36 points and Russell Westbrook dished out a season-high 20 assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder upstaged LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Ben Simmons added 16 points and nine assists, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 16 points in a rare start as the Sixers (22-20) moved past Milwaukee (23-22) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Before the second half began, the arena's in-game emcee told the fans, "The first half is over".

George has been a welcome offseason addition to the Thunder lineup and an ideal compliment to 2017 league MVP Westbrook who is having another superb season. "But for the most part we just tried to keep a body between him and the basket as best we could". A team with a defense this bad, or one showing this blatant of a disregard for the regular season, should not be the team tasked with taking down the Warriors come June.

"It has never been a chase". "When I get it I get it. It doesn't matter. I will have another opportunity on Tuesday but it has never been a chase". "We got a lot of things going on".

Making the one-sided loss even tougher to swallow was the fact that Cleveland played well offensively - shooting 52 percent from the field and handing out 32 helpers of their own. It's an accomplishment Thunder coach Billy Donovan is most impressed with because it came from someone with a pass-first mentality. They got the offense on track a little better in the second and put up 36. Each of them has previously found success getting much of their production in isolation situation, which is a style that is hard to play alongside two other elite offensive players.

"At the end of the day you've just got to look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'What can I do better?' You can't point the finger, you can't get mad at a guy for not doing what you thought he should've done". A lot of times it's hard to get better because there's such a microscope.

Cavaliers: C Kevin Love played only three minutes before leaving with an unspecified illness.

"We can be as good as any team in the West, any team in the National Basketball Association for that matter", Paul George said after the game (ESPN). With the February 8 trade deadline approaching, there is growing speculation that Cleveland will make a deal - or two - to improve the league's oldest roster.

"I think on that end we do not trust each other, and that has to change". "We just haven't been healthy the whole year. But I know watching guys and loving their game and all that, if you had an opportunity to play with that guy, how special that would be".

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