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LeBron, Cavaliers ground rockets 99-90
LeBron James scored 27 points â€” 18 in the second half_ and Mo Williams added 23 as the Cleveland Cavaliers remained the NBA’s only undefeated team at home with a 99-90 win Tuesday night over the Houston Rockets.
Daniel Gibson made two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Cavaliers, who improved to 23-2 in their last 25 games and 14-0 at home. They did it against the Western Conference’s best road team â€” Houston had won 11 straight road games against Eastern Conference teams dating to last season.
James punctuated Cleveland’s 14th straight win at Quicken Loans Arena â€” and a heated game â€” by pinning Yao Ming’s layup attempt to the backboard in the final minute. James sneaked up behind the unsuspecting 7-foot-6 center and slammed his shot to the glass before screaming in the Chinese star’s direction.
The Cavs are the first team to win their first 14 home games since Chicago and Orlando did it in 1995-96.
Rockets Rally falls Short
With the Cavaliersâ€™ win secure and the game about to reach its final minute, LeBron James sought an exclamation mark Tuesday night.
Yao Ming had turned to begin a drive to the rim when James charged from behind, timed his leap and sent Yaoâ€™s shot slamming off the backboard.
The Rocketsâ€™ latest effort to measure up to one of the NBAâ€™s early-season â€œBig Threeâ€ had been similarly blocked, with the Cavaliers brushing aside a fourth-quarter rally to end the Rocketsâ€™ four-game winning streak with a 99-90 win before 20,562 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Before it ended, however, Ron Artest left another message. With James ready to dribble out the gameâ€™s final seconds, Artest â€” who had just received a technical foul for shoving James to the floor â€” defended James as if the score were tied in the final seconds in June. The Cavaliers had dismissed the Rockets as had the Celtics and Lakers before them, but Artest said he was determined to demonstrate there would be no surrender.
â€œThat is not good,â€ Artest said of those three losses. â€œBut we have a lot of room for improvement, and we have a lot of games left. Time will tell if those three games we lost against those three top teams were a fluke or not.â€
Ironically, in the first game this season in which the Rockets were completely healthy, their two top stars spent much of the night on the bench anyway.