Basketball

Harden floors tired Cavaliers

MVP candidate James Harden recorded his 16th triple-double and the Houston Rockets grabbed a season-high 20 offensive rebounds to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-112 at Toyota Center yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Harden scored a game-high 38 points, and added 10 rebounds and 11 assists as Houston (46-21) split the season series with Cleveland (43-22).

His 11-point third quarter helped the Rockets erase a 67-58 half-time deficit and his nine points, four rebounds and two assists in the final period enabled Houston to pull away late.

Houston committed just six turnovers and built on their dominance on the offensive glass into 15 second-chance points. The Cavaliers shot 52.5 per cent from the floor, but were minus 16 in shot attempts, a mark of the Rockets' effort.

"It was key for us to make sure we blocked him (Cavaliers centre Tristan Thompson) off and gang rebound," said Harden, who scored or assisted on 65 points and is averaging 32.7 points in his triple-doubles.

"Even guards like Lou (Williams) got six rebounds. That was one of the big keys going into the game."

LeBron James paced Cleveland with 30 points and added seven rebounds and five assists, while Kyrie Irving chipped in 28 points and eight assists.

Richard Jefferson tallied 16 points on six-of-six shooting but did not attempt a shot over 15 second-half minutes for Cleveland, who fell to 0-9 on the road in the second half of back-to-backs.

"We competed, we played hard and fought down the stretch and we got tired," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

"I thought LeBron and Kyrie got tired. What we took advantage of in the first half we weren't able to get those things in the second half because our guys got tired." - REUTERS


OTHER RESULTS

LA Lakers 116 Philadelphia 118, Phoenix 101 Portland 110, Brooklyn 120 New York 112, Indiana 102 Miami 98, Boston 100 Chicago 80.

NBAHOUSTON ROCKETSCleveland Cavaliers