Game 36: Rockets at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: ESPN, Fox Sports Ohio
1. Reinforcements are on the way. However, guard J.R. Smith was the only new player that saw action. He missed all five of his shots from the field, including four from 3-point range. Guard Iman Shumpert and center Timofey Mozgov weren't available. The plan is for Mozgov to meet the team in San Francisco. Shumpert, of course, is at least two weeks away. He's still recovering from a dislocated shoulder.
2. The last few days have been a blur. Players coming and going. I think the Cavs came out of the two trades in a good way. As GM David Griffin said, they needed to address three weaknesses and were successful in doing so. They added a perimeter shooter in Smith, a wing defender in Shumpert and a starting center.
3. My gosh, they gave up a lot to acquire Mozgov: Two first-round picks. Obviously, the Cavs are in win-it-now mode. They feel with the way the roster is constituted, they can make a deep run into the playoffs. They still have to gel as a team.
4. Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving led all scorers with a season-high 38 points. He had 34 points with 3:03 left in the third quarter. However, he made just one of his last eight shots. He had missed the previous game with stiffness in his lower back. He said after the game his back held up well against the Rockets.
5. The Cavaliers biggest problem came on the defensive glass. Rockets center Dwight Howard was magnificent with 17 points and a season-high 19 rebounds. He had 10 offensive rebounds. The Cavs had just 13 as a team. They were smashed on the boards, 50-37.
6. Cavs power forward Kevin Love also put up good numbers in the defeat with 17 points, 16 rebounds and four assists.
7. What this team needs now is practice time. The three new additions will further cloud the issue. The Cavs are still just a collection of talent that has yet to gel as a team. The entire season has been a series of adjustments.
8. Rockets shooting guard James Harden remains an MVP candidate. He leads the NBA in scoring (27 points per game). He also averages 6.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds. He struggled with his shot against the Cavaliers. He made just 6 of 18 from the field for 21 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. He committed seven turnovers.
9. The Cavs' bench was outscored, 37-13. Once things get straightened out, Tristan Thompson, Mike Miller and Matthew Dellavedova will shift to the bench.
10. Milwaukee moved to within one-half game of No. 5 Cleveland in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Bucks might pass the Cavs on this upcoming West Coast trip.
11. The Rockets have won their last five games against the Cavs, including the last three at The Q.
UP NEXT: at Golden State, Oracle Arena, 10:30 p.m. Friday
C Tristan Thompson (6-10, 238) vs. Dwight Howard (6-11, 265)
Rockets - F Terrence Jones, C Clint Capela, G Nick Johnson