The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the teams in the Western Conference that many believe can give the Golden State Warriors a hard time in the playoffs, and OKC seems to have had the defending champs' number this season. They continued that trend on Tuesday night by snapping their four-game losing streak with a 125-105 rout at Oracle Arena. Russell Westbrook had 34 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, while Paul George added 38 points for the Thunder, who handed Golden State their third loss in four games. Kevin Durant had 33 points against his old team, while Steph Curry had 21 points for the Warriors, who had five technical fouls called against them on the night. Draymond Green headlined that category, receiving two technical fouls before being ejected with 8:13 remaining in the game. Oklahoma City got off to a quick start to lead by 12 after one quarter, led by Westbrook's 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting in the first 12 minutes. That sprung the Thunder to their first win at Oracle Arena since April 11th, 2013. The Thunder look to capitalize off the big win when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. The Warriors move on to host the lowly Dallas Mavericks that same night.
Raptors Crush Celtics in Irving's Return
It was a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, and the return of Kyrie Irving after a three-game absence due to a quad injury, but it ended up being all about the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. Kyle Lowry scored 23 points to lift the Raptors at home in a 111-91 rout of the Celtics, pulling themselves within a game of Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. C.J. Miles added 20 for the Raptors, who made half of their shots on the night and snapped the Celtics' four-game winning streak. Other contributors featured DeMar DeRozan with 15 points, Delon Wright with 14, and Fred VanVleet finished with 10 in what was the Raptors' fifth straight home win over the Celtics. Irving had 17 points in 22 minutes in his first game back, as Boston also got Marcus Morris back from a hip injury that caused him to miss two games. Terry Rozier led the Celtics with 18 points, but that was not enough in his team's second-worst loss of the season. This falls just short of a 23-point defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls on December 11th. They will look to bounce back on Thursday when they visit the Washington Wizards, who just saw their win streak come to an end against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors move on to host the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Cavs Blow Big Lead, Lose Big Against Magic
It seems as if the Cleveland Cavaliers are finding new ways to lose every night, which gives their fans more reason to worry heading into the postseason. The Cavs dropped to the fourth-seed in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night with a tough 116-98 loss at the hands of the Orlando Magic. Cleveland led by as many as 21 points, but was outscored by 31 points in the second half. That tough last 24 minutes included them putting up just nine points in the fourth quarter, as they fell to the Magic for the second time this season. Jonathan Simmons had a career-high 34 points for the Magic, including 22 in the 41-point third quarter that helped overcome a 16-point halftime deficit. His 22-point quarter fell three points shy of Tracy McGrady's franchise record for a quarter, which was set back in 2003. The Magic made their first 10 shots in that third quarter and won consecutive games for the first time since November 8th-10th. The loss for the Cavaliers is their 14th in the past 21 games, as they have given up an average of 122.4 points in their last five losses. LeBron James had 25 points in the loss, as his team will be back where he does not want them on Wednesday, and that's on national t.v. when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Magic stay home to host the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a battle of the bottom two teams in the East.