Final Dime: Rockets 124, Cavaliers 119

RSS

Manny Harris drives for two of his 21 points in Wednesday night's loss at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE/Getty Images
1. It’s a rare occurrence when one statistical category can essentially explain an entire ballgame.

But on Wednesday night, the Rockets completely dominated Cleveland on the offensive boards – and in the rebounding department overall – holding on to hand the Cavaliers the 124-119 loss in their first game of the unofficial second half at The Q.

Houston’s Chuck Hayes set the tone early, setting an arena record in the first period – snagging nine offensive boards and 12 overall. By the end of the first half, the Rockets had 31 rebounds as a team and – despite the fact that Cleveland shot 57 percent to their 43 – trailed by just four at intermission.

The Cavaliers’ four-point edge evaporated quickly after the break, however, as Houston opened the third quarter with a 19-4 run. But the Rockets couldn’t close out the quarter, and Jamario Moon’s three-pointer erased Houston’s 11-point edge.

The Wine and Gold never regained the lead in the fourth period – cutting Houston’s lead to a single point twice on a pair of Manny Harris buckets. But Chase Budinger’s 14-point fourth kept Cleveland’s comeback at bay. In the furious finish, both teams combined to score 25 points in the final 61 seconds.

On the game, the Rockets finished with 57 total rebounds to just 37 for the Cavaliers. Twenty-two of those boards were off the offensive glass, let by Chuck Hayes who set a personal and Quicken Loans Arena high-water mark with 13 offensive rebounds.

“Two words: offensive rebounding,” began a disappointed Byron Scott. “I’m not talking about our offensive rebounding. I’m talking about giving up 22 offensive rebounds. If you look at the stat sheet, offensively, we probably should have won the game. If you give a team like that 22 offensive rebounds, you make it very tough on yourselves.”

As a team, the Wine and Gold shot 52 percent from the floor and featured six players in double-figures.

Antawn Jamison led Cleveland with 26 points, going 8-for-15 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the line. Ramon Sessions followed up with 20 points and a game-high 12 assists. Anthony Parker rounded out the starters in double-figures with 19 points, five assists, five boards and a pair of steals.

Manny Harris had his best game this month – notching 21 points and nine boards after going scoreless in his previous three outings. Harris was 9-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

“If you’re playing six minutes, ten minutes – either way you have to find a way to produce,” said Harris. “It felt good just to get out there and play today.”

In the second half, Samardo Samuels got heavy minutes in place of an ineffective J.J. Hickson – finishing with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Jamario Moon pitched in with 11 points, eight boards and a game-high three blocked shots.

The Rockets were led by Kevin Martin and second-year forward Chase Budinger – who finished with 30 points apiece.

The Cavaliers continue their homestand on Friday night when they welcome Carmelo Anthony and the new-look Knicks to The Q.



2. The Cavaliers have seen a big boost in February scoring. Cleveland came into the month averaging 95.1 ppg – including 92.8 in January, 30th in the NBA. So far this month, they’re averaging 106.7 ppg – good for 5th in the league.

3. Jamario Moon, Manny Harris, Ramon Sessions and Anthony Parker combined to go 11-for-15 from long-distance and the Cavaliers shot 59 percent overall from beyond the arc.

4. A big part of the Cavaliers power surge is the play of Ramon Sessions, who averaged 11.0 ppg through Jan. 31 and is averaging 19.6 ppg since the start of February. Sessions has also seen big increases in assists (4.7, 9.2), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.59, 3.45) and field goal percentage (.435, .584).

5. After returning from a nagging hip injury three games before the All-Star Break, Mo Williams was back on the shelf for Wednesday night’s affair. Daniel Gibson was also absent from the squad on Wednesday, excused for personal reasons.

6. The Wine and Gold have been spreading the wealth in February, leading the NBA at 25.4 assists per contest.

7. Antawn Jamison has been lethal at The Q over the last dozen games. Including his 26-point performance against the Rockets, Jamison is now averaging 24.4 ppg – including shooting .476 from beyond the arc – in 2011 on the home hardwood.

8. Anthony Parker is averaging 15.7 ppg over his last three contests – shooting .533 (8-of-15) from three-point range.

9. Manny Harris had a better outing against the Rockets on Wednesday than he did on Dec. 11 in Houston. In that outing, Harris went scoreless while Kevin Martin notched 40 points. Harris bounced back with a strong effort on Wednesday, scoring his first points since dropping a dozen on Portland two Saturdays ago.

10. Byron Scott used the starting lineup of Sessions, Parker, Hickson, Jamison and Eyenga for the fifth time this month – the most a starting unit has been on the floor together since Anderson Varejao went down in early January.


Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.