Wine and Gold Fall in Houston
Wrap-Up – Whether it was a “Heat hangover” or simply another mismatch pitting a playoff team against a Cavaliers squad missing their starting backcourt, the Wine and Gold fell behind early and never regained their rhythm, dropping a 116-78 decision on Friday night in Houston.
The numbers say it all. The Cavaliers shot 36 percent from the floor to Houston’s 57 percent. The Rockets outrebounded Cleveland, 54-32, and outscored them in the paint, 56-24. Even the normally-reliable Cavaliers second unit was eclipsed, 56-30, but that’s mainly due to Wayne Ellington and Shaun Livingston being forced to start in place of the injured Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Livingston led Cleveland with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting and Ellington followed up with 13 of his own. Alonzo Gee added 11 points and Tristan Thompson pitched in with eight points and a team-high eight boards.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers came out with good energy and trailed by just three, 28-25, after one quarter. But James Hardens’ three-pointer with 4:39 to play in the first half seemed to open the floodgates, giving Houston their first double-digit lead of the night. Carlos Delfino canned a three-pointer at the first-half buzzer put the Rockets up 15 at intermission.
Game Ball – Shaun Livingston – The angular point guard led the Wine and Gold in scoring, led the starters in assists and steals and committed just a single turnover in almost 30 minutes of action.
By the Numbers – 15 … straight games that C.J. Miles has hit at least one three-pointer, shooting .434 from beyond the arc in that span.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on the Cavaliers’ struggles on Friday night …
”We made some shots in the first quarter. From that point on, I just thought we were disconnected and our guys were trying to get theirs on the offensive end. But defensively we were disconnected, not communicating and it was just one of those nights that we were just individuals out there, not a team.”
Up Next –The Cavaliers get an unusual four-night break after falling to the Rockets. Their next two games are at Quicken Loans Arena – welcoming the Celtics on Wednesday and the Sixers on Friday. After that, the Wine and Gold face the Hornets in New Orleans on Easter Sunday and the Hawks in Atlanta the following night.