Rocket defenders gave LeBron James a hard time on the perimeter and when James did get in the lane, he had to deal with the Rockets big men. Shane Battier and Trevor Ariza harassed LeBron all night and while James had 27 points, he only made 8 of 21 shots and for the second time in as many days, he turned the ball over five times. This loss adds to the Cavs woes in Houston, as they have lost 6 of 7 times on the Rockets home court.
The Cavaliers (15-7) did cut the Rockets double digit lead to single digits, but were not able to get it close enough for Houston to panic. It did not help that Mo Williams, Shaquille O’Neal, and Delonte West received technical fouls for arguing calls. The Rockets converted those technicals to points and padded their lead. The frustration of the night did not stop with the players.
Cavs coach Mike Brown was ejected by referee Scott Wall before halftime. It is always a good idea to keep your cool, especially on the road, but with the team’s lack of intensity, Brown probably did it more to ignite a spark for his team.
“I don’t like to do that because I think we’re good enough to win no matter which way the calls go,” Brown said. “I took it a step too far.”
For the second straight night, the Cavaliers were hurt by committing 20 turnovers, which led to easy baskets for the Rockets (12-9). Those miscues cost them 22 points and Houston ended up with 18 fast-break points. Ariza led the Rockets with 26 points, including 4 of 6 shooting from 3 point range and getting easy fast-break hoops. Aaron Brooks put in 27 points and held Williams to only 7 points.
West helped keep the Cavs in the ballgame with 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting. The Cavaliers did hold the edge in rebounding, 47 – 37, including 11 offensive boards.
To add to the Cavs troubles, Daniel Gibson suffered an injury to his right pinky in the first half and didn’t return. X-rays were negative and he is day to day.
The Cavs return home Friday night to take on the Portland Trailblazers. But their home stand will be short lived, as they will be back on the road to travel to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder.
This article can also be seen at "The Dugout Sports Show".