Houston Rockets Recap: James Harden Outshines LeBron in Win
By Coty Davis
In a battle of the two top MVP candidates, James Harden’s sixteenth triple-double of the season was enough to help the Houston Rockets defeat LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers.
In what could realistically be an NBA Finals Preview, the Houston Rockets went on a second half surge to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night at the Toyota Center. With the win, the Rockets have clinched their playoff berth.
Although Houston ended the game shooting 42.7%, it was a tale of two halves for the Rockets.
Houston got out to a 33-26 lead early, but the Cavaliers went on a 20-5 run to open the second quarter. Behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Cleveland outscored the Rockets 41-25 in that frame to take a 67-58 lead at the halftime break.
As the Cavaliers grew their lead to 14 points early in the third, perhaps they got too complacent in the second half. Cleveland did not show the hustle nor heart that made them the 2016 NBA champs.
The Rockets erased their second half deficit going on a 21-5 run, but their biggest contribution came on the defensive end. Houston held the Cavaliers to 19 third quarter points to take a 90-86 lead into the fourth.
More from Space City Scoop
- Rockets: Time to return the slander towards Rachel Nichols
- What the Rockets must do with the second overall pick
- Houston Rockets: The case for, and against, trading Christian Wood
- NBA Rumors: Why the Houston Rockets shouldn’t trade up to no. 1 in NBA Draft
- 3 players that would be a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets at 23 or 24
While Patrick Beverley and Trevor Ariza made it a miserable second half from behind the arc, Nene did a phenomenal job shutting down Cleveland’s offensive penetration down on the low post.
With Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon scoring a few clutch buckets in the fourth, the Rockets outscored the Cavaliers 27-26 to give them the victory.
In the battle of the MVP candidates, James Harden got the upper hand over LeBron with 38 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, his sixteenth triple-double of the season. Alongside Harden, Anderson had a good night on the offensive end, scoring 16 points on 45% shooting.
In a losing effort, LeBron James had a solid night in Houston with 30 points and five assists.
Next: Top 5 Small Forwards in Houston Rockets History
Following the win, the Houston Rockets will look to continue their winning streak, Wednesday, against the Los Angeles Lakers.