Basketball

Revved-up Rockets rout cagey Cavaliers

Cleveland's poor form against top sides continues as Golden State fall at Denver

Chris Paul finished with 22 points and 11 assists as the Houston Rockets became the latest team to pummel LeBron James' struggling Cleveland Cavaliers with a 120-88 win yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Rockets did it without a big night from James Harden who finished with 16 points while, on the other side, James had just 11 points and didn't play in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

Harden has been averaging 31 points a game this season for the Rockets, who won their fourth consecutive game and their 11th in their last 13. Ryan Anderson stepped in with 21 points.

Since losing at Golden State on Christmas Day, Cleveland have been humiliated in several clashes against top NBA clubs.

They lost by 28 at Minnesota, 34 in Toronto, 24 at home to Oklahoma City and now by 32 to the Rockets.

The Cavaliers looked nothing like the team that made it to the last three NBA Finals.

They should take us off of every nationally televised game for the rest of the season. Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, after their 120-88 loss to the Houston Rockets

"I'm lost for words," James said.

The defending Eastern Conference champs played their second game without injured all-star forward Kevin Love, who suffered a broken left hand earlier last week and could be out for two months.

Isaiah Thomas scored 12 for Cleveland, who have lost 12 of 18 and don't seem to have any answers on the floor for what ails them.

"They should take us off every nationally televised game for the rest of the season," said James.

"We haven't played good at all and we get our butts kicked every time we play on national television, so I'm at a loss for words."

In Denver, Nikola Jokic scored 19 points and added nine rebounds as the Nuggets came from behind to beat the Golden State Warriors 115-108.

Denver rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to hand the Warriors their second loss in three games.

"For us to come and get the defending world champs was huge," said Denver's Gary Harris, who tallied 16 points.

Will Barton had 25 points and Harris 16 for the Nuggets, who split the four games with Golden State this season.

Kevin Durant scored 31 points and Stephen Curry had 24 for Golden State.

"They hit some shots tonight," Durant said. "We made plays but, down the stretch, we couldn't get it done."

In Detroit, Andre Drummond had 23 points and 20 rebounds and Ish Smith tallied a season-high 25, including a clutch triple in the final minute, as the Detroit Pistons beat the Miami Heat 111-107.

Blake Griffin helped offset a poor shooting night by making a key three-pointer with 44 seconds left in the fourth.

The 28-year-old Griffin, who spent all eight NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers before being traded to the Pistons last Monday, missed his first five shots from beyond the arc before making one in the final minute. He finished six-of-19 from the field with 16 total points.

The Pistons won their third straight game since the trade and are 2-0 with Griffin in uniform as they pulled within a game of 0.500 with a 25-26 record on the season. - AFP

OTHE R RESULTS:

  • LA Clippers 113 Chicago 103
  • Detroit 111 Miami 107
  • Indiana 100 Philadelphia 92
  • Orlando 98 Washington 115
  • Denver 115 Golden State 108
  • Minnesota 118 New Orleans 107
  • San Antonio 111 Utah 120
  • Sacramento 99 Dallas 106
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