Rockets 92, Cavs 77 --First things first, Daniel Gibson has a right hamstring issue. He told me he never popped it, it was just very sore and then he started getting spasms. He was holding it in the third quarter and in the fourth he left the court. He was uncomfortable after the game and the thought of playing tomorrow was not in his head, he was more concerned with getting the leg to quiet down. --Second, LeBron hurt his right thumb. He said he jammed it going to the basket. He played through it but he wasn't sure how it would fell to today. When I asked him about the giant ice bag on his hand, he looked down at the bucket of ice his right ankle was in and just shrugged. --Wrong team to play down two power forwards. Rockets are a tough team and they are excellent on the glass. When you lose the rebounding battle by 20, as the Cavs did tonight, you cannot win. --The Cavs were on the officials all night about defensive three seconds (the Rockets just stood in the lane when LeBron had the ball) and were upset about the lack of free throws. But they have to look in the mirror. They did not attack the paint at all with the exception of James. They was no drive-and-kick offense. Obviously Yao Ming is a major factor, but they never tested him. He didn't have a single foul tonight. --This game reminded me a lot of last year here. The Cavs were on a back-to-back and they just chucked jumpers all night long and barely cracked 70 points. Tonight they were down four rotation players by the end of the night and they did much of the same. They took 27 3-pointers, which was more than a third of their shot attempts. That's out of whack. --This was the first game where not having Varejao really showed up. It was a game when an energy player could've made a difference, especially with as many loose balls as the Rocket got. --Houston is hot, they have won 14 of 17. It was going to be a tough one no matter what. We'll see just how mentally tough the Cavs are tomorrow in Atlanta against a struggling Hawks team. With the Nuggets, Magic and Spurs before the break, that is a pretty important game to win.
Cavs: Larry Hughes, Ira Newble, LeBron James, Donyell Marshall, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Rockets: Rafer Alston, Tracy McGrady (maybe), Shane Battier, Luis Scola, Yao Ming
Officials Dan Crawford, James Capers, Tommy Nunez
--So, weird stuff going on with McGrady. He has a sinus infection and didn't come to shootaround and wasn't going to play. He wasn't here at the Toyota Center an hour before the game. But now they are saying he is coming and they have him on the active roster. We'll all find out together what happens. --Drew Gooden is out, Mike Brown wants to see how Donyell does in there but chances are you will see Newble playing some 4 and Cedric Simmons. Dwayne Jones will be used to foul Yao. --Rockets are playing great, they have won 13 of 16 and eight of nine. Good test for the Cavs, but being down three rotation players is a tall order. --So who is the official health care provider of the Houston Rockets? The Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance. Hmmmmm, wonder if that will be undergoing a name change? Then again, he does know human performance.
Halftime -- Rockets 40, Cavs 39
--Cavs have done a pretty good job of hanging in there. The Rockets are just pounding it into Yao, who has 13 shots already. The Cavs actually tried a little zone in the first half to deal with it. Houston would be ahead by more if they weren't so bad from 3-point range at 1-of-11. Also, T-Mac shouldn't be playing, he's not well and is not good right now. --Donyell Marshall is filling in pretty well all things considered, he has six points and four rebounds. Dwayne Jones is working hard but getting his behind kicked. The Rockets are soundly winning the rebound battle as not having Drew Gooden and Anderson Varejao is showing up. --Yao is neutralizing Z, he needs to look for more pick and pops to get jumpers. Also the Cavs have just one offensive rebound. The Cavs also need to challenge Yao at the rim instead of trying so many 3s. He will commit fouls if you go right at him. --The Rockets are letting LeBron have wide open jumpers by going under pick-and-rolls, he's just not hitting them. If the Cavs are going to win, he needs to force them to be more honest like he did with the Trail Blazers.
Stars Yao, 22 points, 12 rebounds Skip to my Lou, 17 points, nine assists Bonzi Wells, 13 points, 10 rebounds LeBron, 32 points, seven rebounds, six assists
Mike Brown: "We've got to have other guys step up, tonight we didn't rebound as a team. That's a very big team and a good offensive rebounding team and they took advantage of us in that area." LeBron: "We miss some of our bigs, we are a better rebounding team than that. When you have 20 rebounds (on average) sitting on the sideline it hurts."