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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Game 70: Rockets at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED?: Rockets center Dwight Howard was held out of tonight's game after having a cyst removed from his right ankle.

However, the Rockets didn't miss a beat with the highly capable Omer Asik waiting in the wings. The Cavs kicked the tires on acquiring Asik this season, but passed when looking at his contract for next year. It goes up to $18 million next year.

He's a quality big man, however, and gave the Cavs some problems in the low post.

The Rockets' most explosive player, of course, was guard James Harden. "The Beard" ripped the Cavs with 37 points, 11 assists and four steals.

He checked into the game averaging 24.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists. Wow. Now that's production out of your shooting guard. One can see why he's an All-Star.

Cavs shooting guard Dion Waiters had 26 points and eight assists, but was totally outplayed by the Rockets' All-Star.

Since Kyrie Irving was sidelined three games ago, Waiters has averaged 24.3 points.

We knew he was capable of that kind of production. He's capable of doing a lot more that just score, though, such as rebounding and playmaking. That's what's needed from him on a nightly basis.

Most observers think we've seen the last of Irving (strained left biceps tendon). I'm still sticking with the premise that he'll play again this season. I don't think he'll want that hanging over his head in the long offseason. If you remember last year, he came back late in the season after an injury.

In the previous meeting with the Rockets, a 106-92 setback on Feb. 1, point guard Patrick Beverley caused all kinds of problems with his defense, hustle and toughness. Basically, he got in Irving's jock. That's a little crude, but you know what I'm talking about.

He might hound Waiters tonight, even though the latter is much stronger and bigger.

The first game marked Jarrett Jack's first start with the Cavs. He's been in the starting lineup ever since. Coach Mike Brown likes the way he gets the ball moving on offense.

The Cavs played without half their team again: forward Luol Deng (sprained left ankle), swingman C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle), swingman Sergey Karasev (strained patellar tendinitis), forward Anthony Bennett (strained left patellar tendon), guard Carrick Felix (left patella stress fracture) and Irving.

The Cavs signed guard Seth Curry to a 10-day contract on Friday. He played 9 minutes and hit a 3-pointer. He was a former Duke teammate of Irving's.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to New York at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Chandler Parsons (6-9, 227)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Terrence Jones (6-9, 252)
C Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245) vs. Omer Asik (7-0, 256)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 225) vs. James Harden (6-5, 220)
PG Jarrett Jack (6-3, 200) vs. Patrick Beverley (6-1, 185)
Cavs - G Kyrie Irving, G Carrick Felix
Rockets C Dwight Howard, F Greg Smith
Bill Kennedy, Orlandis Poole, Josh Tiven


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