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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Game 61: Cavs at Rockets

Toyota Center
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7

1. Each team was missing one of their top players. The Cavaliers played without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. The Rockets didn't have center Dwight Howard. The Cavs really missed Irving's long-range shooting. They were 12 of 40 from behind the arc on Sunday (30 percent). Just a few shots could have won the game. 

2. The Cavs were putrid at the foul line, as they were 11 of 21. The worst culprit was forward LeBron James, who was 3 of 11. Two of the misses came with 4.2 seconds left in overtime. The Cavs were facing a 104-103 deficit at the time. He didn't have a good night shooting, as he was 15 of 35 from the field, 4 of 12 from the foul line. James' timing was a bit off on his shot the whole night. Perhaps, it had something to do with sitting out of the Pacers game on Friday.

3. The Cavs now have a losing streak. It's a modest two-game streak, but a streak nonetheless. They need Irving (strained left shoulder) back in the lineup in the worst way. Forty-two minutes of Matthew Dellavedova is too much to watch. Irving could return for the Celtics game.

4. I probably could have watched 42 more minutes of Tristan Thompson, who finished with 14 points, a season-high 19 minutes and two steals. He was quite good, which might have been the reason Kendrick Perkins didn't play and Timofey Mogzov was limited to 18 minutes. Thompson had 11 of the Cavs' 22 offensive rebounds. The Cavs dominated the boards, 53-36.

5. The Cavs have now lost six in a row overall to the Rockets, including eight in a row at the Toyota Center. The Rockets have swept the season series vs. the Cavs three years in a row.

6. Rockets shooting guard James Harden was outstanding with 33 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. He was 8 of 18 from the field, 2 of 6 from behind the arc and 15 of 18 from the foul line (he missed the last one on purpose). He's leading the league in scoring at 27.1 points per game.

7. There were three major skirmishes in the game. James ran over Rockets guard Patrick Beverley and landed with his hand on his chest. When Beverley tried to get up, James pushed him back to the floor. Beverley didn't care for that and was slapped with a technical foul, along with James. Harden got knocked to the floor on an attempted jump ball. He ended up kicking James in the groin. Harden was given a technical. Then, Harden was flattened by Mozgov on a drive to the hole. Trevor Ariza let Mozgov know he didn't like the play and also got a technical.

UP NEXT: vs. Boston, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m. Tuesday

SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Trevor Ariza (6-8, 220)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Terrence Jones (6-9, 252)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Donatas Motiejunas (7-0, 222)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. James Harden (6-5, 220)
PG Matthew Dellavedova (6-4, 200) vs. Patrick Beverley (6-1, 185)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, F Shawn Marion
Rockets - C Clint Capela, C Dwight Howard, F Kostas Papanikolaou
Michael Smith, Dan Crawford, Tony Brown


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