Por Justin Torres (TAB)
The Cleveland Cavaliers cut a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to one and nearly stole the game from the Houston Rockets.
Clint Capela decided otherwise.
Leading 112-111, Capela threw down an alley-oop, while drawing the foul and making the free throw, to give the Rockets a four-point lead. Following a LeBron James’ layup to cut it to two, Capela cleaned up a James Harden airball to put them up by four.
Capela then blocked a James layup attempt to seal the 117-113 victory for the Rockets.
“On that last one, I knew that he was going to try to score,” Capela said. “So, I was thinking, ‘Yeah man, I’m going to get that.’ Once I felt like he was going up, I just swiped it.”
Harden lead the Rockets with his second triple-double of the season, scoring 35 points and adding 11 rebounds, 13 assists and five steals. Eric Gordon added 20 points, while Capela scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“It is just a process every single game we face different defenses,” Harden said. “We find out how to beat them defensively. All it is (is) playing hard and communication.”
The Rockets took an early lead, scoring 36 first quarter points and built an 18-point second quarter lead, until James and Jeff Green combined for 36 of the Cavs’ 42 points to take a 67-65 lead going into the half.
“We gave ourselves a chance to win,” said Cavs center Kevin Love. “We felt we made some big plays early on.”
Despite being down, the Rockets answered back and outscored the Cavs 35-26, shooting 62.5 percent for the quarter. The Cavs late rally wasn’t enough, as the Rockets extended its win streak to four games.
“I thought we competed,” said Cavs Head Coach Tyronn Lue. “We got down early and fought back and took the lead. And made some adjustments, and I thought our guys really scrapped and competed.”
There was no answer for Harden, as he got to the line 14 times, making 13, while the Rockets, as a whole, attempted 36 free throws to the Cavs’ 14 attempts.
Houston also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Cavs 45-26, including 17 offensive rebounds, which were key in halting the Cleveland comeback.
“That’s something that you have to have, you have to have those defensive rebounds in the fourth quarter when you’re coming from behind, and you’re trying to win on the road,” James said.
Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni believed the hustle plays were key to getting the victory.
“I told them there are different ways to win a game,” D’Antoni said. “You can have points, you can outshoot them. But, when we out scrap them, out play them, and we get all the 50-50 balls, get all the rebounds, that bodes well for nights you are not on.
“We’ll definitely take it, they played well.”
James lead the Cavs with 33 points and seven assists, but also turned the ball over nine times. Jeff Green scored a season-high 27 points, while Love added 17 points.
“It’s not about LeBron (James),” Lue said. “I thought we did a good job of competing and fighting back.”
The Cavs continue their four-game road trip by heading north to Dallas on Saturday, November 11.
The Rockets look to extend its four-game winning streak by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies, who have beaten the Rockets twice this season.