Cavs hold off Rockets in Yao’s return
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Larry Hughes drained a key free throw to
make it a two-possession game with nine seconds left, and Cleveland staved off
a Tracy McGrady scoring spree to knock off the Houston Rockets, 91-85, at
Quicken Loans Arena.
Hughes scored 22 points with seven assists and six rebounds, while LeBron
James led Cleveland with 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Cleveland
has won two straight and three of four.
McGrady scored 25 points, but made only 10-of-32 shots from the floor. Yao
Ming returned from a fractured right tibia suffered on December 23rd against
the Los Angeles Clippers, scoring 16 points with 11 rebounds.
Shane Battier added 15 points for Houston, which has lost two straight and
four of five.
A Donyell Marshall three-pointer gave Cleveland a 76-62 lead with 9:14 on the
clock, but McGrady and Yao carried the Rockets back into the game.
Yao scored seven straight Houston points with a three-point play drawing the
Rockets within 79-69. McGrady’s driving layup and long-distance jumper cut the
deficit 80-76 with 5;06 left.
Another McGrady jumper kept Houston within four points, 84-80, with just 3:08
to play, but the superstar missed two threes that could have cut the deficit
to one point on the next two possessions.
However, his jumper did bring Houston within 84-82 before he missed an open
look at a tie.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas made a layup and Hughes tossed a deft alley-oop to James,
the latter giving the Cavs an 88-82 edge.
“It (the lob pass) was to LeBron and I saw Andy (Anderson Varejao) getting
ready to go for it, so I kind of threw it a little higher and thought he
wouldn’t jump and he jumped anyway. But I saw LeBron cutting the whole time,”
After a McGrady three, Hughes slashed to the rim and was fouled by Rafer
Alston from behind. He made 1-of-2 to make the score 89-85 and Cleveland
held on for the victory from there.
Houston held a 58-47 edge on the backboards…The game featured eight ties and
five lead changes…Houston has still won six of the last eight