NBA Game Summary - Houston at Cleveland
(Thursday, January 5th)
Final Score: Houston 90, Cleveland 81
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Tracy McGrady poured in a game-high 34 points, pulled down five rebounds and dished out five assists to lead Houston to a 90-81 win over Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena.
"I've got to assert myself because the big fellow (Yao Ming) is out and we need more scoring," McGrady said. "I need to do more out there on the offensive and defensive end. It's all about attacking from start to finish."
Rafer Alston added 18 points and six assists for the Rockets, who won their second straight game. Juwan Howard chipped in 16 points and nine boards for Houston.
"I love coming out with a victory," Alston said. "We have to find a way to extend it (leads) and put them away, so that we don't have to make it a dogfight at the end."
LeBron James, who came into the game following his sixth career triple double, had 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Cavs, who lost for the first time in three games. James shot 13-of-19 from the floor while Zydrunas Ilgauskas tallied 17 points and 10 boards for Cleveland. Donyell Marshall had 11 points off the bench in the loss.
"When they are not going down we need to find a way to get to the basket," James said. "We didn't shoot the ball as well as we wanted. When we are not hitting the shots we need to drive with the ball and get to the basket."
The Cavs were sluggish early and spent the night trying to climb back in the game. Trailing by 17 points, Marshall's three capped a 17-4 run that cut the Houston lead to four, 73-69, with just over nine minutes left in the fourth.
The Rockets quickly answered with a 6-0 burst highlighted by a long McGrady jumper that extended the lead back to double digits with less than six minutes remaining.
Cleveland then responded with seven straight points featuring another long distance delivery from Marshall and an Ilgauskas jumper to make it a 79-76 game with 4:36 left.
The Rockets would not waver, however, and outscored the Cavs 9-2 over the next three minutes. Howard's jumper with 1:17 left gave Houston an 88-78 advantage and sealed the game.
Houston's stifling defense enabled the Rockets to take a 24-18 lead after one and a 49-35 edge into the half. McGrady paced the Rockets with 23 points, while James had 14 for the Cavs.
The Cavs closed the gap to 71-60 heading into the fourth quarter.
"It was a tough ballgame for us," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Houston came out and was aggressive at both ends of the floor. They are a well coached team and they execute well."
Houston is 11-2 this season when it scores 90 points or more...The Cavs were a dismal 8-of-18 from the charity stripe and a woeful 7-of-29 from beyond the arc...Marshall was just 4-of-16 from the floor...Cleveland had won six in a row at home and is now 13-4 in its arena...The Rockets are 9-9 away from home this season...Houston has won five straight and six of the last seven matchups with Cleveland. The Rockets have also won three straight in Cleveland.
01/06 00:07:15 ET