Thunder Defense Collapses Late

The raw numbers were bad enough, Cleveland 114, Oklahoma City 104.

But here's the rest of the story...the Thunder have now lost as many games at Chesapeake Energy Arena during this homestand as they had the first three-and-half months of the season.

They've dropped three in a row at home for the first time since the 2008-09 season, their first out here in the shortgrass country. The season that started 3-29.

They are 0-4 in games played without Kendrick Perkins and they will likely play another 20 or so without him while that groin heals.

The Thunder defense turned to dust in the fourth quarter, allowing the Cavs to score 42 points, 42! on 67 percent shooting, 67%. Actually dust might have provided more resistance.

A frustrated Scott Brooks couldn't believe what he'd just seen.

"42 points in that fourth quarter, that's just unacceptable. We've gotta bet better on defense. This is the second game in a row we've given up a 40 point quarter. We can't keep playing like this."

The worst thing to do would be to individually point fingers, so Brooks used a broad brush.

"We're not gettin' after it enough on defense. We have to get tougher. We're not taking pride in the basketball."

And then Brooks, in rapid fire fashion, ticked off everything his team isn't doing on the defensive end.

"We're letting guys drive around us, we're letting guys score in transition, we're not communicating, we're letting guys get offensive rebounds and we're letting guys block out on free throws."

In other words the Thunder's boom has gone bust, or poof. The mojo has mosied on down the road.

The defense checking out early overshadowed really good nights from Kevin Durant (a near miss triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists), Serge Ibaka (a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (24 points, nine assists).

Cleveland had all five starters in double figures led by All-Star Kyrie Irving, who scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and hit three of his four 3-pointers in the last 12 minutes.

The Thunder had won 15 of their 17 games leading up to the All-Star break and hit the break with the best record in the NBA.

They had shot to the top of everyone's power rankings and were getting one of the game's top players, Westbrook, back from injury.

And now this, winless since February 13th.

But hey at least the popcorn was hot and the beer was cold at The Peake and even after all of these struggles the last three games your Thunder still sit atop the Western Conference standings a game-and-half up on San Antonio.