Sports

LeBron leads Cavs into Houston

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets aim for a perfect homestand Sunday afternoon when the scorching-hot Cleveland Cavaliers pay a visit to the Toyota Center.

The Rockets are 4-0 with wins over the Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets. Houston's four-game winning streak equals the longest currently in the NBA.

On Friday, the Rockets had a tough time before knocking off the Nets, 102-98.

Terrence Jones had a season-high 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead the Rockets. Trevor Ariza had 20 points and five rebounds while James Harden added 15 points and 12 assists for Houston.

"We had to find a way to win the game tonight and we did," said Harden. "Things weren't going our way early, but we were able to come back and that's a good lesson for when the playoffs come."

Brooklyn held a 95-90 lead with 2:35 to play after Brook Lopez's tip-in, but Jones followed that with a jumper and Patrick Beverley hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 1:11 left.

After a miss from Markel Brown, Harden was fouled away from the play and made a free throw, then hit a jumper with 27 seconds left for a 98-95 lead. Deron Williams countered with a layup at the other end before Jason Terry made two from the line with 14.7 left.

Joe Johnson then made 1-of-2, but Ariza grabbed the rebound and Jones sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.

Houston is third in the Western Conference and now 1 1/2 games clear of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rockets are also just 1 1/2 behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who are second in the conference.

The Cavs had their four-game winning streak snapped Friday night in the opener of a two-game road trip. Cleveland fell, 93-86, to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Cavs can take solace knowing that LeBron James (rest) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) both missed the contest. James should be back on Sunday, but Irving did not travel to Houston.

Cleveland couldn't contain George Hill, who went off for a triple-double.

J.R. Smith made four 3-pointers en route to 21 points for the Cavaliers. Kevin Love contributed 17 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks for Cleveland.

Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert each had 14 points and 10 boards.

"A game like tonight, missing Kyrie and missing LeBron, we needed to make open shots over the top because we didn't have the normal kind of penetration," said Cavaliers coach David Blatt. "We needed to make some of those shots from a distance and we didn't."

The Cavs shot 35.9 percent from the floor and 31 percent from long range.

The Rockets bested the Cavs by 12 in Cleveland on Jan. 7, but James sat with a knee issue. Houston has won five consecutive matchups, seven of eight and seven in a row at home in this series.