Cavaliers shoot down Rockets like a scud missile 124-89
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a zone, blowing opponents out on a regular basis. That trend continued against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
The Cavs jumped on a shorthanded Rockets team early and cruised to a 124-89 victory in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. With the Rockets missing their top four scorers against Cleveland, the Cavs put on a massacre off the shores of Lake Erie to secure their fifth straight win.
“We did the job that we had to do,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I thought we played well, up to our standards, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Cleveland (18-12) got off to a bit of a slow start, leading 14-10 with roughly four minutes to play in the first quarter, but they quickly pushed the gas pedal to the floor in the waning minutes of the opening period. In the final four minutes of the first quarter, Cleveland put together a 21-6 run to take a 35-16 lead into the second. Eight Cavaliers made at least one field goal in the first quarter, and they didn’t stop pouring on the offense from there.
Less than two minutes into the second quarter, the Cavs had a 40-16 lead following Darius Garland’s third 3-pointer of the night. Less than two minutes later, the Cavs extended the lead to more than 30 points when Cedi Osman threw down a dunk that gave Cleveland a 47-16 lead with 9:37 to play until halftime. When halftime arrived, the game had already gotten out of control.
The Cavs led 69-38 at the half, shooting 55 percent from the field after the first two quarters. Meanwhile, the Rockets only made 12 shots in the first half, shooting 30 percent from the field. Cleveland led 100-63 after three quarters and by as many as 45 points in the second half of the blowout.
It’s been a message to our guys to understand that we got to keep going and continue doing what has (been) done to give us success and give us those leads,” Bickerstaff said about jumping out to a large lead and holding it through the final horn. “In this league, you can’t take your foot off the gas on anybody. There’s talent throughout this league and if you give them an opportunity, we’ve all seen those runs be made.”
Garland led Cleveland with 21 points and three assists, while Isaac Okoro tied his season-high in points with 20. Neither player played in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love chipped-in 15 points, while Ricky Rubio dished out a season-high 12 assists.
The Cavs moved to 9-2 in their last 11 games, and all nine of those victories have come by double digits. Their defense has been just as good (if not better) as their offense this season, as Cleveland has now held 13 opponents under 100 points this season. To put that in perspective, the Cavs only held 10 opponents under 100 points all of last season.
Cleveland entered the day ranked second in the league in opponents points per game (101.9), which also ranks first in the Eastern Conference. That average will surely go down after Wednesday’s performance.
Wile the Cavs were without Evan Mobley (hip soreness) against Houston, the Rockets were without their leading four scorers, Christian Wood, Eric Gordon, Jalen Green and former Cavalier Kevin Porter Jr., all due to injury.
Alperen Sengun led Houston (9-19) with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Josh Christopher added 17 points. Showing plenty of frustration, the Rockets were whistled for four technical fouls against Cleveland. Houston point guard D.J. Augustin was assessed two of those technicals for arguing with a referee and was ejected early in the third quarter. It didn’t help the Rockets’ cause when head coach Stephen Silas left the game just before the start of the second quarter because of dehydration.
Wrapping up their three-game homestead on Wednesday, the Cavs will head on the road for three games, starting in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Saturday.
POSTED 12/15/2021 22:28