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Vitals: Cavaliers at Thunder

20091213-vitals cavs 20091213-vitals cavs

Originally Published: Dec 13, 2009 2:49 PM CDT

Vitals | Recap | Box Score

Dave Carty
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

Cleveland Cavaliers (16-7) at Oklahoma City Thunder (12-9)
Sunday, December 13, 2009, 6:00 p.m. CST
Ford Center, Oklahoma City
Game 22 of 82

Anticipated Starting Lineups

Cleveland (Away)
Oklahoma City (Away)
PG
Mo Williams
16.7 PPG, 3.0 APG, 4.9 APG
Russell Westbrook
16.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.9 APG
SG
Anthony Parker
7.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.7 APG
Thabo Sefolosha
6.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.0 APG
SF
LeBron James
28.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 8.1 APG
Kevin Durant
28.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.2 APG
PF
J.J. Hickson
7.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.2 APG
Jeff Green
14.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.8 APG
CShaquille O’Neal
11.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.5 APG
Nenad Krstic
8.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 0.5 APG


Injuries
Cleveland: C, Shaquille O’Neal (eye, questionable); G, Daniel Gibson (finger, questionable); F, Leon Powe (knee, out).
Oklahoma City: G/F, Kyle Weaver (shoulder, out); G, Kevin Ollie (knee, out).

Where to find it?
On TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
On Radio: Thunder Radio Network

What you need to know?
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have slipped slightly among the NBA’s elite. Off to a 16-7 start, the Cavs have relied on the NBA’s biggest star to carry them to wins. But despite the slow start, the Cavs still lead the Central Division and have a cultural icon on its payroll. With LeBron James on the court, any team has a chance to win. James has not been on a sub-.500 team since his 2003-04 rookie year.

The Thunder has won five of its last seven games, averaging 107 points per game in those wins. This season, the Thunder has not lost a game (10-0) when it has scored over 100 points. So, as much as defense has been a key factor in the team’s success, putting points on the board is equally important. A lackluster third quarter let the Memphis Grizzlies back into the Thunder’s last game. If they suffer another lapse like that, King James may bury the Thunder.

Who to watch?
The James-Shaquille O’Neal tandem adds a unique dynamic on the floor. O’Neal has had a down start to the season, but underestimating the Big Aristotle would be a mistake. If nothing else, James and O’Neal bring a fun atmosphere to the game. The entertainment side of the sport is not lost on them.

This game is a test for Kevin Durant. Competing against one of the league’s best defensive teams, he’ll be tasked with matching LeBron James shot for shot. If Durant is to be among the league’s elite talent, these are the types of games he’ll have to shine in. Statistics can only go so far in determining the league’s best players, answering the challenge in a game like this would help state his case.
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