Rockets Pull Away from Wine and Gold
Wrap-Up – On Saturday night, the Cavaliers took Houston’s best shot in the first half, falling behind by 19 before bouncing back to take the lead early in the third period. But the Rockets closed the quarter on a 23-10 run and kept Cleveland at bay in the fourth – pulling away to hand the Wine and Gold their fourth straight loss, 106-92, at the Toyota Center.
Luol Deng led three Cavaliers in double-figures with 24 points, going 10-for-19 from the floor and adding four boards, two assists and a pair of steals. Kyrie Irving followed up with 21 points to go with a team-high seven assists, four boards and three steals. Dion Waiters did most of his damage in the second quarter, notching 15 of his 21points in the period. In the quarter, the East’s top scoring reserve went 6-of-8 from the floor, including both attempts from beyond the arc.
Houston got a combined 54 points from their two All-Stars – Dwight Howard and James Harden – with Howard going 10-for-12 from the floor. Jeremy Lin tallied his first career triple-double with 15 points, 11 boards and 10 assists. Houston was too much for the Cavs inside – outscoring them in the paint, 62-32.
Turning Point – Saturday’s game was decided in the third quarter. Trailing by nine at intermission, the Cavaliers opened the period on an 11-0 run, and when Luol Deng scored on a layup, Cleveland found itself up by a deuce. But that was as good as it would get for the night as Houston stormed back to take a double-digit lead headed to the fourth. The Cavs cut it to nine twice in the final period, but could get no closer.
Game Ball – Henry Sims – The workmanlike Sims didn’t fill up the boxscore or get in the highlight reel, but with Anderson Varejao still nursing an injured left knee, Sims was pressed into rough duty, helping Tyler Zeller contain Dwight Howard. With Zeller battling foul trouble for most of the night, Sims did an admirable job with the future Hall of Famer, holding him to six boards and forcing four turnovers. In just 20 minutes of action, Sims finished with seven points, six boards, a steal and two of Cleveland’s four blocked shots.
By the Numbers – 401 … Three-pointers that Luol Deng has now hit over the course of his nine-year career. He was 3-of-8 from long-distance in Saturday night’s loss.
Quotable – Luol Deng, on communicating with his teammates on the floor …
”The biggest thing is just staying positive. Sometimes, a guy might mess up out there, but as a leader, you have to somehow highlight what he’s doing better. We talked about that in the locker room and sometimes, you’d be surprised when you talk to your teammate how far that goes.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers round out the Texas two-step on Monday night, when they face Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. The Wine and Gold return to The Q on Wednesday night, when they welcome the Lakers to The Q. After that, it’s back on the road for a Friday night matchup in the nation’s capital against John Wall and the Wizards. On Sunday, it’s the first of two more Western Conference foes as the Grizzlies come to town. Two days later, the Kings come to The Q, as Cleveland looks to repay them for the lopsided loss Sacramento notched three weeks earlier in California’s capitol.