RUSSELL Westbrook scored 26 points, and Oklahoma City took advantage of LeBron James' absence to beat visiting Cleveland, 103-94, last night.
James sat out with left knee soreness, and without him, Cleveland's winning streak ended at eight games. Cavaliers coach David Blatt said before the game that James' injury wasn't too serious, and he would be day-to-day.
Westbrook made 12 of 24 shots and had eight assists and seven rebounds. Kevin Durant added 19 points for the Thunder, who have won four straight and six of seven after a 3-12 start.
Kyrie Irving scored 20 points for Cleveland, but he made just seven of 21 shots. Kevin Love had 18 points and 16 rebounds, and Tristan Thompson added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland had another injury scare in the first half. With 1:31 left in the second quarter, Irving jumped to contest a shot by Westbrook, and his knee connected with Westbrook's knee on the way down. Irving clutched his knee, then was helped off the court. A Cavaliers spokesman said it was a left knee contusion, and Irving returned to start the second half.
A 10-0 run by the Thunder, featuring three-pointers by Serge Ibaka and Anthony Morrow, gave Oklahoma City a 67-57 lead in the third quarter.
Durant, who had been quiet for most of the game, found Morrow for a three-pointer, then made a three himself to help Oklahoma City take a 78-66 lead into the fourth quarter. A step-back jumper, then a three by Jackson bumped Oklahoma City's lead to 83-66.
Cleveland made a final push to make it close in the final minutes. A tip-in by Thompson cut Oklahoma City's lead to 95-91 with 2 minutes to play before Oklahoma City held on.
* Former Phoenix Suns forward Richard Dumas has pleaded guilty to two counts of theft after being accused of stealing merchandise from an exchange store. Maricopa County prosecutors say Dumas, 45, entered his plea yesterday. He's scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20.
Authorities say Dumas stole about $800 worth of merchandise from the Luke Air Force Base's exchange store while working with a janitorial service in 2012.
They say Dumas was seen on surveillance cameras taking cigarettes, alcohol, food, DVDs and shoes.
Dumas originally pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges of organized retail theft. He later reached a plea agreement.
Dumas played for the Suns from 1992 to 1995 and helped the team reach the NBA Finals in 1993. He was waived by the team after missing a drug test.