Instant Replay: Rockets outlast Cavaliers

Instant Replay: Rockets outlast Cavaliers
March 22, 2014, 9:15 pm
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(USA Today Images)


The Houston Rockets played without Dwight Howard for the third consecutive game on Saturday night in Cleveland. So far, so good as Houston made it 3-for-3 without its All-Star center with a 118-111 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Rockets were comfortably in front the entire first half after opening the game with a 12-2 spurt.

They flirted with disaster to start the second half when the Cavaliers went on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter. Rockets head coach Kevin McHale called timeout and just like they did in the second quarter of their 129-106 win over Minnesota on Thursday, the Rockets exploded out of a timeout and went on a crushing 34-10 run and built a 29-point lead after three quarters.

James Harden scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the third quarter. He also led the team with 11 assists, including eight in the first quarter. The Rockets had 31 assists in the game, giving them 30 or more assists in their third consecutive game. That's the first time they've accomplished that since January 1994.

Chandler Parsons had 16 points and six assists, while Pat Beverley was in double-figures for the fourth consecutive game with 15 points. It's the fourth straight game Beverley has scored in double-figures, the longest streak of his career.

The game was over when
The Rockets opened the second half by allowing the Cavaliers score the first seven points and cut the Houston lead to just five points. Houston called a timeout, then went on a 34-10 run with James Harden scoring half of those points. The Cavaliers did cut the lead down to six in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets were able to hang on.

Highlight of the night
When the Rockets scored 101 points in the first three quarters, they had plenty of highlight plays. The most unbelievable play came from Omer Asik and Beverley at the end of the first half. Following a Cavaliers layup with just under four seconds remaining in the second quarter, Asik scooped up the ball and fired a long pass down the court to a streaking Beverley. Beverley got his hands on it, controlled it and dropped in a layup to put the Rockets up by 12 points at the half.

Numbers of the night
Houston connected on 30-of-34 free throws (88.2 percent). They are now 12-1 this season when they shoot 80 percent or better at the free throw line.

Next up
Houston's short two game road trip continues on Monday in Charlotte. Houston opened the season with a 96-83 victory over Charlotte at Toyota Center. Howard had 26 rebounds and Omer Asik had 14 rebounds helping the Rockets to an enormous rebound advantage. Howard's 26 rebounds tied his career high and he added 17 points.  Harden led the Rockets in scoring with 21 points, while Francisco Garcia added 19 points off the bench.