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Gameblog: Cavs at Rockets

By George Thomas Published: February 26, 2009

Post Mortem: Rockets 93, Cavs 74
Three glaring reasons exist as to why the Cavaliers got spanked in Houston tonight.
The first:  the inability to do anything with Rockets center Yao Ming who scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Yao was able to have his way with whomever guarded him be it Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao or Ben Wallace. He hit from the outside and had more than his share of easy dunks.
Secondly:  The Rockets didn't allow the Cavaliers many easy shots.  They reduced them to taking jump shots.  Some were good looks, others were ill-advised.  But considering the Cavaliers weren't doing much in the way of ball movement, that was to be expected. 
Lastly: Ron Artest and Shane Battier turned in a masterful performance on LeBron James, who hit for 21 points, but was limited to a single rebound and just one assist.  They didn't allow him much in the way of penetration.  James hit just 33.33 percent of his attempts, going 7-of-21 from the field.
Add those all up and it's a recipe for a loss  Making things worse:  Ben Wallace will sit out the next 4-6 weeks with a fractured right fibula.
Ron Artest on keeping LeBron James on the perimeter for his shots:

I love to play defense.  I always think defense first, but it's not going to be just me.  Of course you have to give respect to the game plans from coaches.  Then you have a guy like Shane who can give you a rest , so it was definitely a team effort.
LeBron James on having no assists for the night:
I'm not happy about that at all.  I can't think of the last time I didn't have one.
Mike Brown on Yao's effort:
Yao was a handful for us. We tried to mix up coverages, but everything we threw at him he seemed to convert going 13-of-15.
Game:  Cavs at Houston Rockets
Broadcast:  TV: TNT WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters:  Cavs:  LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Delonte West (G) Rockets:  Shane Battier (F); Luis Scola (F); Yao Ming (C); Ron Artest (G); Aaron Brooks (G).
Injured and inactive:  Cavs:  Eric Snow (knee); Sasha Pavlovic (ankle); Rockets:  Joey Dorsey (foot), Luther Head (foot); Carl Landry (sprained right ankle); Tracy McGrady (microfracture surgery on right knee).
Streaking:  Cavs have one five in a row and Houston has the same streak. Earlier this season:  The Cavaliers won 99-90 led by LeBron James' 27-point performance.
Three things to look for:
  • Which Rockets team shows up? They beat the Boston Celtics but have losses to the Memphis Grizzlies.  But that five-game win streak is no fluke.  The Rockets have been playing better because the uncertainty is gone.  That unsettled feeling came courtesy of a Tracy McGrady who migrated in and out of the lineup.
  • The McGrady effect:  What losing McGrady has done is forced other Rockets to step up.  In this case, Ron Artest, who was acquired from the Sacramento Kings, is averaging more than 20 points per game during their current win streak.
  • Going West:  After getting a second opinion on his sore right wrist, Delonte West is ready to go once again. He plans to play through any discomfort and his play could be key.
From the coach's office:
Mike Brown on Ron Artest:
He’s got to be Top 5 in the NBA.  He’s so big.  He’s so strong.  He’s so long. He’s an extremely intelligent and he’s very, very skilled.
From the locker room:
Delonte West on his injury status:
I’ve already been out four weeks and that’s been too much time. I’m actually disappointed because I don’t think in any other of my years in the league  - I went four seasons without missing a game  and I was looking forward to this year.  This is an unfortunate injury and I don’t want to miss anymore games.
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