As a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James has never lost to Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Their December 2015 meeting in the Sixth City kept the tradition intact.
James had his way with Durant with 33 points, 11 assists and one rebound shy of the triple double to lead the Cavaliers to a 104-100 win, winning their fourth game in a row to make it to 17-7 this season so far. James didn’t seem bothered by Durant guarding him, and although he wasn’t exactly slowing down Durant on the other end (25 points), this was another game that for now, sets the difference between the two players in favor of James.
After the Cavaliers ran away with the game in the final minutes of the fourth, erasing the solid lead the Thunder had throughout the game, the Thunder surged back and had a chance of tying things, but Russell Westbrook didn’t get a clean enough look (James had his hand in his face) and missed a 3-pointer, allowing James to spend some precious time before he got fouled and sink the final free throw that ended the game.
The difference was also the bench. The Cavaliers got 32 points from their bench players, including 14 from Tristan Thompson and 13 from Richard Jefferson. Thompson was unstoppable on the offensive glass with 11 offensive rebounds and 15 overall, while the Thunder, despite Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka, showed incredible softness in the paint and a lot of minutes of very lazy defense that allowed the Cavaliers time after time very easy points, finishing with 50 in the paint.
The Thunder got pretty much nothing from their bench. Dion Waiter kept missing and missing against a team that couldn’t be happier to get rid of him last season. The Thunder? They won’t find anyone who’ll take him and actually give something back for him. And if the Thunder facing a team without Kyrie Irving, Mo Williams and Iman Shumpert can’t compete in terms of depth, then maybe some changes on the bench will be needed to be made as this season progresses to give themselves a fighting chance to win something.