Rockets Pull Past Cavs at The Q
Wrap-Up – In the same way opposing players and fans know that it’s just a matter time until Kyrie Irving goes off, James Harden seemed to be biding his time until he let loose – scoring 16 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and propelling the Rockets past the Cavaliers, 112-104, on Saturday night at The Q.Kyrie still managed to lead all scorers with 30 points, going 10-for-24 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the stripe, adding six assists and four steals but committing a game-high eight turnovers in the process – including three in the fourth quarter. Irving’s draft classmate, Tristan Thompson, doubled-up for the seventh time in his last nine games – finishing with 14 points and 16 boards. Alonzo Gee added 18 points and six boards before fouling out and Tyler Zeller chipped in with a dozen points. Dion Waiters notched 13 off the bench.
The Cavaliers held the high-octane Rockets to just 20 first-quarter points, but Houston tallied 34 points in the second and fourth quarters. Kevin McHale’s squad also got 42 points off their bench, led by Greg Smith, who went 5-for-5 from the floor and grabbed 11 boards.
Turning Point – In a game that featured 13 lead changes, it was a quick barrage late in the fourth that gave Houston some breathing room down the stretch. Trailing by just five, 97-92, with just over four minutes to play, Harden canned a three-pointer to put the Rockets up eight. Kyrie sank a pair of free throws, but on the in-bounds, Jeremy Lin went coast-to-coast and was fouled on the layup, converting the three-point play and putting Houston up nine, 103-94. The Cavs closed in, but couldn’t close the gap in the closing moments.
Game Ball – Tristan Thompson – The sophomore forward from Texas has been outstanding in the span since Anderson Varejao went down with a knee injury. He kept the hits coming on Saturday, snagging eight of his career-high 16 boards off the offensive glass. Thompson was 5-of-11 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the stripe, adding a pair of assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
By the Numbers – .909 … Cavaliers’ free throw percentage (60-66) in their last three games at The Q.
Quotable – Rockets guard Jeremy Lin, on trying to contain Kyrie Irving …
“He’s a heckuva player. I tried to make it difficult for him, but he’s one heckuva player and he’s tough to stop.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers have just one more home game – on Wednesday when Atlanta returns to The Q – before departing for a five-game, nine-day roadie that begins in Denver on Friday night.