Rockets-Cavaliers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 05, 2013
James Harden and Kyrie Irving are among the league's most dynamic scorers, but one of them is getting a little more help. Harden and the high-powered Houston Rockets will try to earn their 11th win in 14 games and fourth in a row Saturday night by outpacing Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers. Harden has been unleashed since being traded from Oklahoma City on Oct. 27, averaging 26.3 points and topping 20 in each of his last 15 games. With his help, Houston (19-14) is the NBA's top scoring team at 106.1 points per game. Harden scored a team-best 29 points and Carlos Delfino had 22 as the Rockets rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 115-101 win in Milwaukee on Friday. Houston took the lead for good by outscoring the Bucks 30-14 in the third quarter and finished shooting 54.2 percent. "Really, that third quarter is about as good as we can play," coach Kevin McHale said. "We locked down on the defensive end. We pushed it up. We got shots and made shots. Then we started blowing some of their plays up just by being aggressive. I was really proud of the guys." Irving is scoring 23.1 points per game in his second season, which was interrupted by a fractured finger from Nov. 21-Dec. 8, but the Cavaliers (8-26) are averaging only 94.2. Cleveland, though, had one of its better scoring performances at Charlotte on Friday but needed Irving's help to escape with a 106-104 victory and snap a three-game losing streak. The Cavaliers point guard hit the go-ahead jumper in the final second and scored 16 of his team-best 33 points in the fourth quarter. "I kind of got in a zone and kept it going," Irving said. "And they kept feeding me and trusted me to continue to make the right plays." Cleveland led by 18 points in the third quarter of that game but allowed the Bobcats to take a one-point lead with 4:43 to go. "Our guys never seem to make it easy on us," coach Byron Scott said. "You know that is one thing I told them, we have to figure out how to have a killer instinct when you have a team down like that, don't relax and just allow them to get back in the game. I thought that is what we did." Houston has won 12 of 17 over Cleveland but lost 118-107 at Quickens Loan Arena in the most recent matchup March 11. Irving had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists in his only matchup with the Rockets. Houston has lost in three of its past four visits to the Cavaliers but it's hoping Harden's presence might make a difference. While playing as a third option at best for Oklahoma City, the swingman averaged 16.7 points on 57.1 percent shooting in his past three matchups and has made seven of 15 shots from 3-point range. Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin, who needed five stitches after a collision with Milwaukee's Larry Sanders on Friday, had 19 points and 13 assists in his only game against Cleveland, a 120-103 win for New York on Feb. 29.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Nationals players privately grumbling about bullpen woes

Dwight Howard responds to those who think he's washed up

Report: Red Sox interested in Sonny Gray

Jermichael Finley opens up about lasting effects of injury

Lionel Messi has allegedly hid tens of millions of euros through his own charity

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John McEnroe: Serena Williams would be No. 700 on men's tour

Report: Celtics could target Rudy Gay as backup plan

Ex-NFL RB Ahman Green arrested on suspicion of child abuse

Cam Newton throws, will be ‘100 percent’ for training camp

Timberwolves reportedly still trying to trade Ricky Rubio

Jaylen Brown looks like reason Celtics didn’t trade for Jimmy Butler

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker