Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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Five Quick Takes on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ latest in a string of humiliating losses, a 120-88 whipping at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena…
1. This was yet another “nontest” from the jump as the Rockets did whatever they wanted… and did so over, and over, and… well, you get the idea. This wasn’t just a mismatch, it was men against boys. Make that, inspired men against lazy, unaggressive, slow-to-react boys. By the time Derrick Rose made the Cavaliers’ first 3-pointer, the Rockets had canned 7-of-11 and led, 42-25. Houston was 19 of 51 from 3.
2. The 32-point loss is the Cavaliers’ eighth defeat by 17 points or more this season — the fourth since Jan. 8. Those four defeats — at Minnesota, at Toronto, at home vs. OKC and tonight against the Rockets — have all been by 24 or more points. Houston led by 26 by halftime and the margin ballooned to as many as 35 throughout the second half.
3. All five Houston starters — Chris Paul (22), James Harden (16), Clint Capela (12), Ryan Anderson (11) and Luc Mbaha a Moute (11) — had as many points as LeBron James (11)… through three quarters. James also finished with nine rebounds and nine assists, while Isaiah Thomas (12), J.R. Smith (12), Dwyane Wade (10) and Rose (10) reached double figures. Paul finished with an unheard of plus-47 rating and it wasn’t more simply because Houston coach Mike D’Antoni removed him after three quarters. The Houston starters outscored their Cleveland counterparts, 84-52.
4. Sure, Kevin Love (broken left hand) is out of commission for the Cavaliers (30-21), who, believe it or not, had strung together three wins in their last four games headed into this one. But the Rockets (38-13) played without Trevor Ariza (hamstring) and their second-leading scorer, Eric Gordon (back) and made it look easy, very easy. Don’t look now, but Houston is only two games behind defending champion Golden State (41-12), which lost its second straight game at Denver on Saturday night, for the best record in the NBA.
5. By the time this one mercifully reached its conclusion, the Rockets had (Gerald) Green, (Markel) Brown and (Tarik) Black on the floor. The Cavaliers’ colors on the night? Take your pick — red-faced from being embarrassed — at home, on national television… again (the Cavs have now lost 8 straight games on national TV, all since Christmas Day) — or simply black and blue for having been beaten so badly… again. ABC’s Lisa Solters reported Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue described his team walking back to the floor at halftime in this manner: “Soft. Weak. No physicality. No toughness. No grit.” What more needs be said?