Rockets rout Cavs
Houston, TX – James Harden scored 20 and was one of seven Rockets in double-figures as Houston smoked the Cleveland Cavaliers, 116-78, on Friday at Toyota Center.
Omer Asik chipped in with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds and rookie Thomas Robinson had 15 points with six boards as Houston improved to 4-1 on its seven-game homestand.
Chandler Parsons ended with 13 points, Patrick Beverly had 11 and Donatas Motiejunas finished with 10 in the victory.
"I thought we came out here and our second unit gave us huge energy, never missed a beat with them. We played great defense," Parsons said.
The injury depleted Cavs were no match for the high-octane Rockets offense, which shot a scorching 57.1 percent. Kyrie Irving sat a six straight game and Dion Waiters' bum knee put him out for a second in a row.
Shaun Livingston scored a team-high 14 points and Wayne Ellington followed with 13 in Cleveland's fifth straight setback. The loss came two days after the Cavs blew a 27-point third-quarter lead and were beaten at home by Miami.
"It was a tough one for us tonight," Cavs forward Tyler Zeller said. "Obviously the Miami game was an emotional let down for us not being able to hold on. We are already a little short-handed with injuries. We came in and I thought we were ready to go, but that is a very potent team over there."
Houston held a 28-25 lead after first quarter, but saw its lead expand fairly significantly by the closing moments of the second.
After C.J. Miles and Tristan Thompson each netted a pair of free throws to get the Cavaliers within 40-33, Harden and Carlos Delfino canned back-to-back 3- pointers to open up a 13-point advantage for Houston.
Ellington twice got Cleveland's deficit down to single-digits with consecutive scores, but Parsons answered with a 3-pointer and Delfino's triple with the clock winding down in the second sent the Rockets into the break with a 58-43 cushion.
The Rockets continued to keep the Cavaliers at bay in the third, never leading by any less than 15 points in holding Cleveland to 25 percent shooting in the quarter.
Harden followed a pair of free throws with a 3-pointer with 2:15 to go in the third and Beverly's shot from beyond the arc had the Rockets ahead by 26 going into the fourth, where they would easily cruise to victory.
Houston won the previous matchup with the Cavaliers, 112-104, in Cleveland on Jan. 5 ... The Rockets have won four of the last five games against the Cavs ... Cleveland was outrebounded by a 54-32 count.