Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/9

Game 1: Wednesday, December 9th
Cavaliers85Final
Rockets95
Game 2: Sunday, December 27th
Rockets83Final
Cavaliers108

Rockets 83

(18-13, 10-9 away)

Cavaliers 108

(24-8, 12-2 home)

    Coverage: FSOHHD

    6:00 PM ET, December 27, 2009

    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 24 24 15 2083
    CLE 24 27 32 25108

    Top Performers

    Houston: A. Brooks 23 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast

    Cleveland: L. James 29 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    LeBron, Williams light it up as Cavs' defense stifles Rockets

    Associated Press

    CLEVELAND -- Once LeBron James and the Cavaliers adjusted to being back home, the Houston Rockets quickly wore out their welcome.

    Cleveland looked sluggish through the first few minutes following a West Coast trip, but quickly recovered with a flurry of 3-pointers and stifling defense to beat the Rockets 108-83 Sunday night.

    James scored 29 points and Mo Williams added 20 for Cleveland (24-8), which has won four straight and nine of 10. They have won 10 straight at home, the league's longest active winning streak.

    "It's tough when you're coming off the West Coast," Williams said. "I don't know why, and I've been in the league seven years. When you're coming off the West Coast, the energy is not there. The third quarter we came out with a lot of energy and got it rolling."

    James and Williams combined to make five 3-pointers in less than three minutes early in the third quarter, stretching Cleveland's lead to 68-53. The margin didn't dip below 15 the rest of the way.

    Cleveland's defense took it from there, holding the Rockets to a season low in points after Houston raced out to an early 16-4 lead in the first quarter.

    Aaron Brooks had 23 points for Houston, but only five in the second half. Trevor Ariza scored 11 points, but went 2 of 10 from the floor and is now mired in a 10-for-48 slump. Ariza injured his shin late in the game and a team spokesman said he was taken for precautionary X-rays. Carl Landry added 11 points.

    Even though the Cavaliers were coming off the West Coast swing, Rockets coach Rick Adelman thought his team tired first after playing on consecutive nights.

    "Watching some of our guys, we ran out of gas," Adelman said. "We didn't have anything left to respond. I think the energy was really gone at that point."

    Tracy McGrady missed his second straight game for the Rockets (18-13), who sent their disgruntled star home prior to Saturday's win at New Jersey. McGrady, working his way back from microfracture surgery on his left knee, is unhappy with his diminished role. The situation is expected to be revisited this week after Houston returned home from the weekend trip.

    Two nights after holding the Lakers to 87 points, Cleveland again put on the defensive clamps. Houston made six of its first eight shots and scored 16 points in the first five minutes, then was held to 67 points the rest of the way. Houston shot 33 percent from the floor and had 16 turnovers.

    Even more impressive, the Cavaliers allowed just 16 points in the paint.

    "We didn't have the juice to answer them," Houston's Shane Battier said. "They opened up that lead and we didn't have the oomph to go back at them."

    Battier blamed the league's schedule makers, too.

    "We don't make excuses, but I never played a back-to-back game where you play at 7:30 the night before and play at 6 o'clock the next day," he said. "It shows the NBA is getting creative with their scheduling, which is kudos to them."

    Shaquille O'Neal grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds and scored 13 points for Cleveland, including two on a nifty dunk early in the fourth quarter off a fastbreak that followed a few dribbles from the 7-footer. More importantly, O'Neal and the rest of Cleveland's big men held Houston centers Chuck Hayes and David Andersen to a combined 2 of 12 from the field.

    "[Defense] is our staple. That's something I've been stressing for the last few weeks," James said. "We'll make our mark with the defensive end, then the offense will take care of itself because we have enough scorers. Defensively when we're flying around like we have been the last two weeks, it shows. The result is in the final score."

    Game notes


    Cleveland shot 7 of 17 on 3-pointers after starting the night 1 of 8. ... Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 12 points and now needs four more to tie Brad Daugherty for second place on the Cavaliers' all-time scoring list with 10,389. James is the franchise scoring leader. ... The Rockets beat the Cavaliers in Houston, 95-85 on Dec. 9. ... Cleveland had lost 10 of 13 meetings to Houston since James was drafted in 2003.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    HOU
    CLE
    Points 83 108
    FGM-FGA 25-76 (.329) 44-93 (.473)
    3PM-3PA 8-25 (.320) 7-17 (.412)
    FTM-FTA 25-34 (.735) 13-16 (.813)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-37 15-53
    Assists 18 26
    Turnovers 16 11
    Steals 5 10
    Blocks 4 10
    Fast Break Points 12 19
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (1/0) 22 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 12 28

    Top Performers

    Houston
    Cleveland
    Aaron Brooks Brooks
    Points: 23
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    LeBron James James
    Points: 29
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1