Since coming back to Cleveland, the biggest question surrounding the Cavs is how they play when LeBron James rests. With two other all-stars on the team, they’d expect to be able to pull off a few wins against lackluster opponents. When the Houston Rockets came to town, that’s precisely the position they were in.
At one point in the third quarter, Cleveland found themselves up 62-42 against Houston. The Cavaliers were lucky to be in that position — poor shooting was a common theme in the first half. However, the wine-and-gold were able to force the Rockets into nine first half turnovers which netted them 12 points.
James Harden was unusually quiet in the first half, tallying just seven points 2/6 shooting. Kyrie Irving had 15, and Kevin Love had 10 to lead the Cavs as they entered halftime.
The fourth quarter was entirely different. James Harden awoke from his slumber and pitched in 18 of Houston’s 35 points while shooting 5/7 from the field. Cleveland scored just 16 points, with Irving has their leading scorer with nine. They shot excruciatingly bad, wrapping up the quarter 5/19 from the field. Houston would go on to beat the LeBron-less Cavs, 106-100.
James Harden finished with 27 points, six rebounds, and eight assists to lead the Rockets, and got help from Michael Beasley, who registered 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
For Cleveland, Kyrie Irving had a game-high 31 points, but he was uncharacteristically inefficient. Uncle Drew has never been someone to shoot a high field goal percentage all the time, but Tuesday was his first (of 31) career 30-point game where he shot less than 40% from the field (9/23). Kevin Love chipped in a quiet 13 points, and Tristan Thompson added 16 points and ten rebounds.
Houston plays at home on Thursday against the Bulls. Barring any strange setback, James should appear in the Cavaliers game on Thursday in Cleveland.
Around The League
The Bulls outlasted the Pacers 98-96 and are just two games behind Indiana for the eighth seed. Nikola Mirotic had 28 points and ten rebounds to lead the Bulls; Pau Gasol nearly triple-doubled with 10 points, 11 boards, and seven assists. Paul George had 20 to lead Indiana.
Detroit took full advantage of a Thunder team without Kevin Durant, beat them 88-82. Russell Westbrook scored 24 on 8/28 shooting, and Enes Kanter had 14 points and 14 rebounds. Marcus Morris was Detroit’s leading scorer and put in 24 on 9/13 shooting.
Golden State powered past the Wizards 102-94 for the 54th-straight home victory. Steph Curry had 26 points to lead everyone, and Draymond Green recorded 15 points, 16 boards, and nine assists. Bradley Beal had 17 points to lead Washington.
CHI 98– IND 96
BKN 105 – ORL 139
CHA 100 – PHI 85
OKC 82 – DET 88
HOU 106 – CLE 100
WSH 94 – GSW 102