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2.08.2008

Cavs outplayed by Rockets

Chinese star Yao Ming scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as Houston Rockets dumped Cleveland Cavs, 92-77, at the Toyota Center.

What's more, Rafer Alston netted 17 points and nine assists for the Rockets, who have won five straight games.

"This was a superb win against a good team," Rockets coach Rick Adelman admitted. "We were terrific, the second half especially."

Cavs star LeBron James had a game-high 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Cavaliers, who lost for just the fourth time in 17 games. And Larry Hughes finished with 13 points.

In fact, Rockets led by just one at intermission but quickly gained some breathing room thanks to the long ball early in the third quarter. The Rockets hit three treys in the opening three minutes of the frame, the last of which, by Tracy McGrady, scored for Houston and got a 53-44 advantage.

Just seconds later, consecutive threes by Alston and Battier put Houston on top 61-49 with 5:21 left until the fourth quarter.

In fact, the Rockets extended that advantage to 13 points, 72-59, heading into the final frame, despide Lebron's effort. "We did everything defensively we could do, but they just hit their threes in the third quarter," James stated. "We had open looks that we missed."

As we know, Houston continued to hold the Cavs at bay throughout the fourth. But, Cleveland had one last run and closed the gap to six, 83-77, with 3:22 left, thanks to five consecutive points by James.

Yao Ming finally stopped the bleeding with a turnaround jumper with just over three minutes to go, and the Rockets finished the match with a 9-0 run to win going away.

It's important to notice that the Rockets took a 23-19 advantage after the opening 12 minutes but Cleveland closed the deficit to one, 40-39, by intermission.

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