Dennis Schroder scored a season-high 28 points in replacing injured star Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-86 on Wednesday night.
Westbrook sprained his left ankle Monday, but the Thunder withstood Cleveland’s fourth-quarter run without the two-time MVP to win its sixth straight game after starting the season 0-4.
Cleveland (1-10) rallied from an 11-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to go ahead. Oklahoma City led 78-67 before the Cavaliers went on a 13-0 run. J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver each hit two 3-pointers and the Cavaliers led 80-78 with 7:02 remaining.
Alex Abrines’ 3-points shot from the corner with 4:31 left broke an 84-84 tie and put Oklahoma City on top for good.
Schroder, starting in Westbrook’s place, was 11 for 19 from the field. Paul George scored 18 points and Jermai Grant had 12.
Cleveland added two more players to its ever-growing injury list. Rookie point guard Collin Sexton made his first career start after George Hill was a late scratch because of a sore right shoulder.
Sexton, taken with the eighth pick in the draft, scored a team-high 15 points in a career-high 42 minutes.
Cedi Osman started in Kevin Love’s spot, but left with back spasms in the first quarter and didn’t return. Cleveland is also playing without forward Kevin Love, who had surgery on his left foot last week and is expected to be out for several weeks.
Smith scored 13 points and Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson each had 11 for Cleveland.
Oklahoma City scored 17 straight points over a period of 4:36 in the second and third quarters to take a 56-40 lead.
The Thunder scored the last nine points of a lackluster first half to take a 48-40 lead. George made a basket and a free throw before ending the second quarter with a 29-foot 3-pointer as the buzzer.
Schroder had a three-point play and a jumper and Grant hit a 3-pointer to help build the 16-point lead.
Westbrook traveled with the team, but no timetable has been given for his return and he’s unlikely to play Thursday against Houston. He’s averaging 24.1 points, 8.9 assists and 8.3 rebounds in seven games.
Thunder: Coach Billy Donovan was hit with a technical as the first quarter ended. George complained about not getting a foul called when he drove to the basket earlier in the period and gave the officials a disgusted wave. ... The winning streak is the second-longest active streak in the NBA, trailing only Golden State (eight).
Cavaliers: Coach Larry Drew juggled his starting lineup after power forward Sam Dekker sprained his left ankle in Monday’s loss to Orlando. Osman moved to Dekker’s spot and J.R. Smith started at small forward, but that alignment didn’t last long. Osman played only six minutes because of the injury, giving backup big man Ante Zizic playing time. ... Hill had his best game of the season Monday with 22 points.
Thunder: Host Houston on Thursday.
Cavaliers: Visit Chicago on Saturday.