Houston beats Lebronless Cavs in comeback fashion
Houston gets a big win against the Cavs, who were without Lebron (rest). The victory puts them solidly in 8th and within 2 games of Portland for the 6th seed.
And in typical Rockets fashion, it was a comeback that got us there. Houston was down 20 late in the 2nd. A made FT made it a 19 pt halftime deficit. Houston’s offense wasn’t really getting anything done, and even when they got to the line they weren’t converting many of the FTs. Defensively Houston was able to hold Cleveland to under 40% shooting for basically the whole night, but they also were able to convert more 3s and hit more FTs and grab more offensive rebounds while committing less turnovers. And that was the difference between the two teams in the 1st half.
In the 2nd half, Houston slowly began to chip away at the lead. Beasley came alive, scoring 6 of his 17 pts in the 3rd quarter. The 3rd quarter ended with the Rockets still down 13. Harden played the entire 2nd half again, and really went to work early in the 4th. Scoring 7 points in the first 2 minutes of the quarter, he would finish the 4th with 16 points and the game with 27.
The game was tied at 91 with a little over 4 minutes left, and Cleveland went to the Hack a Howard with Houston in the bonus. Howard would make 3-8 of his intentional FTAs during this stretch, but Houston would continue to hold on to the lead because of defense for once. At one point, the Cavs missed 8 shots in a row (and would finish the quarter only scoring 13 points).
The clincher came with under 30 seconds left in the game. Houston had a 1 point lead and the basketball. The Cavs tried to trap Harden on the screen, and it almost worked but Harden was able to swing it around to Beverly who passed it off to Ariza for the game clinching 3 to go up 4 points with 17 seconds left.
It’s hard to really draw any conclusions with this game. We played great D, especially in the 4th. But the Cavs were without Lebron. So that takes a little away from this win against the #1 team in the East. But after losing the the Jazz and Pacers this past week, a win against the Lebron-less Cavs wasn’t garunteed. And at the end of the day, Houston is just trying to get wins where they can to potentially make it to the 6th seed where they would have a punchers chance of beating OKC in the 1st round rather than get swept by the Spurs or Warriors.