February 19, 2008
Red-Hot Rockets Roll Over Cool Cavaliers
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Cavaliers vs. Rockets

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  • "We have got another game tomorrow and that’s the beauty of the league. Hopefully we caught enough rhythm and caught enough flow to take it into tomorrow’s game." - Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes
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    Zydrunas Ilgauskas finished with 16 points in Tuesday's loss.
    David Liam Kyle
    NBAE/Getty Images
    There’s nothing wrong with having a rough day back at the office after a big weekend in New Orleans.

    Fresh off a successful trip to All-Star Weekend in the Big Easy by two of their brightest young stars, the Cavaliers ran into a red-hot Rockets team that put the clamps on Cleveland in a 93-85 loss that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate.

    The Rockets crowned the Cavaliers by 15 points less than two weeks ago and were just as difficult to solve on Tuesday night at The Q – holding the Cavaliers to 36 points in the first half and 38 percent shooting on the night.

    “They do a terrific job of what we call ‘shrinking the floor,’” said Mike Brown. “You’ve got to give them credit because they came in and did what they were supposed to do defensively.”

    Cleveland cut it to four – 70-66 – early in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets went on a 9-0 run over the next 1:14, and the Cavaliers couldn’t get it under double-digits until an inconsequential bucket in the closing seconds. Houston led by as many as 16 points in the fourth.

    LeBron James, coming off an MVP performance in Sunday’s All-Star Game, tallied his fifth triple-double of the season – netting 26 points, 13 boards and 11 assists. James was 7-for-18 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. He was 8-for-11 from the stripe with a pair of steals.

    “We didn’t do a good job at executing the whole game,” said James. “Defensively we played well. But they still took over the game because they controlled the tempo and didn’t allow us to score as easy as we started off the game.”

    While the Cavaliers’ superstar was stuffing the stat sheet, Houston’s big guns struggled from the floor. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady were a combined 9-for-38 in Tuesday’s win. Yao was 3-for-17, but was perfect in 10 attempts from the line and added a game-high 14 boards to his 16-point effort. McGrady added 17 points, but led Houston with eight assists.

    The Cavaliers led through most of the first quarter, but McGrady’s turnaround jumper gave Houston a two-point lead at 19-17 and the Wine and Gold trailed for the rest of the evening.

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas pitched in with 16 points for Cleveland, going 8-for-15 from the floor with seven boards and a pair of blocks. Larry Hughes rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 16 points of his own on 5-for-15 shooting.

    “They were able to get some open looks and knock them down,” said Hughes. “I think for the most part we are coming back from the break, you have a little rust and a little feeling out process and we got this one out of the way.”

    The Rockets were led by Rafer Alston, who tallied 22 points – going 6-for-10 from long-distance. Luis Scola was 6-of-9 from the field for 15 points. Houston’s bench nearly doubled-up Cleveland’s, 20-11.

    The Cavaliers get right back after it on Wednesday night, when they travel to Indiana for a Central Division matchup with the Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

    NOTES

  • LeBron tied his mark for triple-doubles in a season with his fifth on Tuesday night. He now has 15 career during the regular and is the third-youngest player – behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

    LeBron has also scored at least 20 or more points in 31 straight games. He is the first player to have that many consecutive outings of 20 or more points since Allen Iverson posted 33 straight games from March 26, 2006-Jan. 2, 2007.

  • Drew Gooden and Donyell Marshall both got solid blocked shots against Yao Ming. Gooden’s first-half swat was particularly impressive, coming from the weakside and smacking the 7-6 center’s attempt. Gooden was asked if that was one of the better blocks in his career.

    “Actually I got him once like that when I was in Memphis,” said Gooden. “But I blocked him from behind so I wouldn’t count that as one of my best blocks.”

  • Many of the Cavaliers got out of town during the All-Star break, including Head Coach Mike Brown. His wife, Carolyn, is from Colorado, and the Browns went for a little skiing trip.

    “My son Cameron – whose birthday is today – wanted to race me,” smiled the Cavs coach. “But I managed to get out of that.”

  • Larry Hughes is averaging 27.3 points on .528 shooting, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game over his last three games.



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