Their extended funk in January is now a distant memory as the Cleveland Cavaliers aim for their seventh victory in eight games when they visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. Cleveland lost six of eight games in the stretch during which LeBron James was critical of the organization but has rebounded to win six of its last seven contests.
James sharply insisted the team needed to acquire some better players, but nothing seemed to be wrong with the current group during Wednesday’s 132-117 victory at Indiana. The Cavaliers are averaging 127 points during their four-game winning streak while point guard Kyrie Irving and swingman Kyle Korver each scored 29 points against the Pacers. Oklahoma City has dropped four of its last six games, a slump that began with a 107-91 road loss to the Cavaliers. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook recorded 27 points, a season-best 18 rebounds and nine assists in Monday’s 93-90 road setback against Indiana but missed two 3-point attempts in the final 7.6 seconds.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Cavaliers opened as 3-point road favorites and since reports came out that LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love won’t be playing the line has jumped the fence to Thunder -8. The total opened at 218 and with the Cavaliers sitting their top three scorers has been bet down to 209.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Cavaliers – SF LeBron James (Doubtful, rest), PG Kyrie Irving (Doubtful, rest), PF Kevin Love (Doubtful, rest), SG Iman Shumpert (Out, ankle), SG JR Smith (Late March, thumb)
Thunder – C Enes Kanter (Mid-March, forearm)
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cavaliers (-6.5) – Thunder (-2.9) + home court (-3) = Cavaliers -.6
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (36-15 SU, 23-26-2 ATS, 29-22 O/U): Korver had his best game since joining the team in the win over the Pacers, establishing season highs for points while sinking eight 3-pointers – his most since 2007. The 35-year-old missed only one of his nine long-range attempts and moved into seventh place on the all-time list with 1,992 3-pointers, passing Jason Kidd (1,988). “I got a bunch of great looks and finally had a game where I could knock down a bunch of them,” Korver told reporters. “I didn’t know this was going to happen, obviously. The first couple went in, felt great, and I decided to keep on firing away.”
ABOUT THE THUNDER (30-23 SU, 29-23-1 ATS, 23-30 O/U): Oklahoma City is in the midst of a tough stretch that continues against the defending champion Cavaliers and is followed by a home encounter with Golden State. The hype for Kevin Durant’s return to town already is eclipsing the excitement for James’ lone visit, and Westbrook will have to guard against thinking too much about his now-disliked former running mate prior to the contest versus Cleveland. Westbrook fell one assist shy of his 26th triple-double of the campaign – his 25 are the most in a single season since Hall-of-Famer Wilt Chamberlain posted 31 in 1967-68 – in the loss to the Pacers.
* Cavaliers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games playing on 0 days rest.
* Thunder are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games.
* Over is 8-1 in Cavaliers last 9 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
* Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
* Under is 6-1-1 in the last 8 meetings in Oklahoma City.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 63 percent of Covers users are siding with the road underdog Cavaliers and Over is picking up 66 percent of the totals wagers. View full consensus data here.