Harden Out-duels LeBron In Rockets Win Over Cavs

James Harden scored 35 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out 13 assists in the Rockets 117-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night at Toyota Center.

Harden’s triple-double is his second of the season, and 33rd of his career, pulling him into a tie for ninth all time with Bob Cousy, and the win improves the Rockets to 9-3 on the season, and they had to hold on to get it.

P.J. Tucker knocked down a 3-pointer with 8:02 to play, giving the Rockets a 111-98 lead, but the Rockets missed their next 11 shots, and the Cavs went on an 13-1 run to pull within one, but P.J. Tucker helped give the Rockets a little breathing room.

Harden missed a trey with 35.1 seconds left, but Tucker ran down the rebound, allowing Harden to find Clint Capela for a 3-point play. After LeBron James drove to the rim for a layup, Tucker again helped keep the Rockets next possession alive, resulting in a Capela put-back.

The Rockets center finished with 19 points, and 13 rebounds. He scored 11 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the fourth quarter.

James finished with 33 points for the Cavaliers, who drop to 5-7.

After Kevin Love missed a layup on Cleveland’s first possession, the Cavs made seven straight shots to jump in front 18-12, but the Rockets responded by scoring 17 straight points and as the Cavs hit on just two of their last 11 shots of the quarter, the Rockets took a 36-25 lead, and started the second quarter on a 9-2 spurt, but over the final 10:48 of the half, Cleveland came alive and with LeBron James on the bench, Jeff Green stepped up.

Green scored seven straight to bring the Cavs within seven, but back-to-back Eric Gordon three-pointers forced a Cavs timeout, and brought James back in the game. He’d go on to score 16 in the quarter, while Green would add another 11. The Cavs scored 42 in the quarter and led 67-65. Cleveland shot 74% in the period. Green was 8-of-9 while James was 7-of-8. Harden scored 17 before halftime while Gordon added 14, but after halftime, the Rockets got going again.

A Gordon 30-footer got the scoring started 63 seconds into the second half, giving the Rockets the lead, and they’d never trail again. The Rockets scored the first seven points of the third quarter, and Clint Capela’s hook shot with 7:26 left grew the lead to seven, but Green knocked down a 3-pointer less than three minutes later to cap a Cleveland 10-3 run, tying the game at 87, only to see the Rockets finish the period outscoring the Cavs 13-6 to go into the fourth leading 100-93.

Green scored 27 points for the Cavs, while Gordon added 20 for Houston.

The Rockets will be in action again Saturday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.

More from Adam Spolane
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