Houston Rockets nuke Cleveland Cavaliers behind stellar defensive performance

Houston Rockets’ James Harden, right, drives past Cleveland CavaliersChanning Frye, left, and Derrick Rose in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, in Cleveland. The Rockets won 120-88. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Cleveland Cavaliers are certainly a team on the decline, however, they may have sank into their nadir during Saturday night’s 120-88 loss to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets didn’t quite replicate Oklahoma City’s 148 point pulverization of The Q’s scoreboards, but they dropped a nuke on a gnat and barely broke a sweat. Houston’s win was notable, not just because of their margin of victory, but because MVP candidate James Harden delivered a modest 16-point, nine-assist performance.

From distance, Harden left craters in the rim, making one 3-pointer out of 11 attempts, and barfed up 5-of-16 shooting overall from the field. On the Rockets end, Chris Paul led the way, registering a double-double, courtesy of 22 points, 11 assists and plus/minus of +39. Throughout the evening he made the Cavaliers look silly.

Going against grain, this Rockets blowout was curated by their stellar defense.

However, Houston’s desecration of the Cavaliers’ corpse was buoyed by Cleveland’s lifeless first-half execution. There won’t be a reason to gang up on Kevin Love after he watched from the sideline while nursing a broken bone in his hand. This was a collective team implosion. The Rockets are obviously an elite squad, but for four quarters they executed better, shot better, outclassed and outhustled Cleveland in all phases of the game. They even seemed to be more emotionally invested.

By halftime, the Cavs trailed by 26 and had made fewer field goals than the Rockets had assists (16 Cavs FGs to 18 Rockets assists). Houston even held a listless LeBron James to 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting.The boo birds descended upon Isaiah Thomas and he earned the criticism, scoring 12 points on 13 field goal attempts and turned the ball over thrice.

Cleveland’s strongest performances this season have been a result of their offense overcompensating for the league’s 29th-ranked defense. Putting his lack of self-awareness on display, Thomas, who may be the Cavs worst defender criticized Cleveland’s paucity of ball movement and apathetic defensive effort.

Cleveland is now winless in eight national television performances and an irritated James told Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, “They should take us off every nationally televised game for the rest of the season.”

The NBA has grown accustomed to witnessing a midseason swoon from the Cavaliers, but they may be settling at a new low.


– – – – – – –

DJ Dunson is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at dunsnchecksin@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

  • Pip Pip Hooray: Pippa Middleton gives birth to baby boy
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Pip Pip Hooray: Pippa Middleton gives birth to baby boy

    Pippa Middleton, the sister of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has given birth to a baby boy. A spokeswoman for Middleton and her husband James Matthews said Tuesday that their first baby had been born the day before.

  • Big Island Provincial Park? A look back at Big Island as an Edmonton destination
    News
    CBC

    Big Island Provincial Park? A look back at Big Island as an Edmonton destination

    Big Island in Edmonton's river valley was once a big draw for turn-of-the-century Edmontonians keen for a communion with nature or an afternoon picnic. "They would go out and people would picnic all day long," said Shirley Lowe, former historian laureate for the City of Edmonton. Big Island fell out of fashion long ago as a weekend destination, but a plan to designate the area as a provincial park may change that.

  • Laws won't let us give moose, deer to food banks: Newfoundland hunters
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Laws won't let us give moose, deer to food banks: Newfoundland hunters

    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A hunters' group hopes to help feed the hungry by donating moose and other game meat to food banks in Newfoundland and Labrador, but they say the province won't allow it. Barry Fordham of the Newfoundland Association of Hunters and Anglers first heard about a Hunters Feeding the Hungry program in the U.S., and was excited to learn of a similar initiative in Nova Scotia that began in 2006. Fordham was eager to start a program to bring healthy protein to people accessing food banks -- of whom there were more than 26,000 in the province in 2016, according to a report from Food Banks Canada.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Northern Manitoba patient denied flight for medical check dies on bus: report

    A Winnipeg media outlet says it's learned that a northern Manitoba heart patient died during a 10-hour Greyhound bus trip to see a Winnipeg doctor after being denied a flight to get to the checkup. CTV News says Abraham Donkey, a 58-year-old resident of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, died Oct. 3 along Highway 6 after getting on the bus in Thompson. Donkey's family says he recently had stents put in his heart and was contacted by the doctor for a followup appointment in Winnipeg, although he wasn't offered a flight to make the trip.

  • Huawei launches new flagship phones in bid to keep No. 2 spot
    News
    Reuters

    Huawei launches new flagship phones in bid to keep No. 2 spot

    The Chinese company, which overtook Apple this year to become the No. 2 smartphone maker by units - behind South Korea's Samsung - introduced its Mate 20 phone series using Leica camera technology. Huawei’s new premium phone line-up has four models available around the world, expect in the United States where sales are effectively banned over whispered national security concerns. Mate P20 models take advantage of artificial intelligence features built into Huawei's own Kirin chipsets.

  • Edmonton men honoured for saving taxi driver from knife-wielding attacker
    News
    CBC

    Edmonton men honoured for saving taxi driver from knife-wielding attacker

    Adam Sawaryn ran towards the taxi as it came to a screeching halt. A man in the backseat of the cab was trying to slash the driver's neck with a hunting knife. "He was yelling, 'I'm going to kill you,' Sawaryn recalled Tuesday of the April 19 assault in the Calder neighbourhood of north Edmonton.

  • Sea lion suffering from gunshot wounds rescued in Ucluelet
    News
    CBC

    Sea lion suffering from gunshot wounds rescued in Ucluelet

    The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre faced one of its biggest rescue challenges last week: a massive sea lion suffering from gunshot wounds was found on the rocky shoreline of Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. 

  • Calgary's ready for legal cannabis, city officials say
    News
    CBC

    Calgary's ready for legal cannabis, city officials say

    Calgary officials say their pot preparations are complete and they're ready for recreational cannabis legalization to kick in on Wednesday. Calgary's cannabis legalization project lead, Matt Zabloski, says several others have cleared municipal application hurdles and are now waiting for final provincial approval. Brandy MacKinnis, a senior special projects officer with Calgary Growth Strategies, Planning and Development added there are also several applications currently tied up in the appeals process.

  • Canada tariff exemptions offer auto industry relief
    News
    Reuters

    Canada tariff exemptions offer auto industry relief

    Canada has excluded a long list of steel and some aluminum products from its 25 percent tariff on U.S. metal, offering short-term relief to the country's auto sector, which relies heavily on U.S.-made steel. The exemptions, which reduce vehicle and parts manufacturers' costs, show the Canadian government is willing to protect autos, a key export industry, even when that benefits U.S. steelmakers in the midst of a trade war. The Canadian tariffs were imposed on July 1, 2018, in retaliation for U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

  • Prince Harry in another catch-up with war widow in Sydney
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Prince Harry in another catch-up with war widow in Sydney

    There's clearly a special bond between Prince Harry and a 98-year-old war widow who gave him a warm hug Tuesday when they met — again — in Sydney. The widow, Daphne Dunne, tries to cross the prince's path whenever he comes to Australia. It is one of the highest honours that can be bestowed by the British monarch, and Dunne told Harry it had been awarded to her first husband after he died in Papua New Guinea during World War II.

  • Stand together, Britain's May calls for unity on Brexit
    News
    Reuters

    Stand together, Britain's May calls for unity on Brexit

    A day before heading to Brussels for a summit, May is keen to show she has her cabinet's support after facing pressure from some members of her Conservative Party and the EU to change tack on Brexit, Britain's biggest policy shift in more than 40 years. Less than six months before Britain is due to leave, the impasse has increased the possibility of a 'no deal' Brexit that could potentially disrupt trade, delay movement of goods and starve the world's fifth largest economy of investment. May's spokesman said the cabinet had held "a very detailed and thorough discussion" on the border issue, with the team united in rejecting any deal that would split the United Kingdom and might "trap" Britain in the backstop indefinitely.

  • Venezuelan fans endure sacrifices to 'Play Ball' amid crisis
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Venezuelan fans endure sacrifices to 'Play Ball' amid crisis

    For 10 years, ever since they bonded over baseball at work, Franlet Bencomo and Elbert Albarran haven't missed an opening day game together. This year, however, they left their kids behind and ate a big breakfast before heading out to watch their beloved Caracas Lions because a hot dog inside the stadium costs more than 10 per cent of the roughly $30 each makes a month at their minimum-wage jobs. "Now we have to eat beforehand, watch the game and go straight home" said Bencomo, in line for tickets six hours before the start of Friday's season opener.

  • Blind British man climbs Europe's highest mountain
    BBC News

    Blind British man climbs Europe's highest mountain

    Jack Garner is the first blind British man to reach the summit of Mount Elbrus (5,642m), Europe's highest mountain in Russia. The 23 year old Scunthorpe resident faced 85km winds, -37C wind chill and a longer stay than usual on the mountain due to extreme weather conditions in October. Since Jack became blind at the age of 11, he has made it his mission to climb the mountain. Jack finished his challenge on 6 October.

  • Opera mezzo sees softer side of Dalila in 'Samson et Dalila'
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Opera mezzo sees softer side of Dalila in 'Samson et Dalila'

    NEW YORK — For Elina Garanca, there's a clue nestled in the score of Camille Saint-Saens' opera "Samson et Dalila" that suggests the pagan beauty has genuine feelings for the hero she has vowed to destroy.

  • Baby's death 'could happen to anybody,' defence lawyer argues in parents' trial
    News
    CBC

    Baby's death 'could happen to anybody,' defence lawyer argues in parents' trial

    "It's the sort of thing that could happen to anybody," said Jennifer's lawyer John Phillips in his closing argument Tuesday. Jennifer, 41, and Jeromie, 38, are each charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 14-month-old son John, who died in 2013 form what doctors said was a staph infection and malnutrition. According to multiple doctors, the child had four toes black with gangrene, he was hypothermic and a blistering rash covered 70 per cent of his tiny, undersized body.

  • At least seven killed in train derailment in Morocco
    News
    Reuters

    At least seven killed in train derailment in Morocco

    By Ahmed Eljechtimi SIDI BOUKNADEL, Morocco (Reuters) - At least seven people were killed and about 80 injured when a train was derailed near the Moroccan capital Rabat on Tuesday morning, a medical source said. At least one wagon overturned in the incident near Sidi Bouknadel, a town 10 km (six miles) north of Rabat, on a coastal line connecting the city of Kenitra to the commercial hub of Casablanca. "I heard the very loud sound of the accident and rushed to the site, where I saw people screaming in fear and pain, while others were jumping out of the train windows," a witness told Reuters. ...

  • 'Doing it our way': Yukon First Nation takes fresh approach to job training
    News
    CBC

    'Doing it our way': Yukon First Nation takes fresh approach to job training

    The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations in Yukon are taking a fresh approach to training and employing some citizens who might have a hard time finding work. Dän Tsʼänānän is a training-to-employment program for First Nation citizens who have addictions or face other barriers to employment. The money for the program is coming from the federal government's Skills and Partnership Fund.

  • Beleagured Yellowknife bylaw manager gets new job at city hall
    News
    CBC

    Beleagured Yellowknife bylaw manager gets new job at city hall

    A longtime manager of the City of Yellowknife's municipal enforcement division has been given a new job with a different city department. Cabin Radio first broke the news about Doug Gillard on Monday night. The media outlet reported that the city's senior administrative officer had announced by email around 6 p.m. — during the thick of the municipal election — that Gillard had been given a position that day as manager of the city's newly established emergency management division.

  • VW targets online sales, over-the-air updates in new contract with European dealers
    News
    Reuters

    VW targets online sales, over-the-air updates in new contract with European dealers

    Volkswagen will overhaul its dealership and sales organization by April 2020 to enable online sales and over-the-air software updates for its new electric cars, the German automaker said on Tuesday. "Online business will make a key contribution to the development of the new sales model and is currently being massively expanded," Volkswagen said in a statement. The new sales model will be ready in time for its electric "ID" family which will debut in 2020, the carmaker said.

  • Goodale comments on Bill C-83, ending administrative segregation
    Global News

    Goodale comments on Bill C-83, ending administrative segregation

    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Bill C-83 will end the practice of administrative segregation and will be replaced by structured intervention units.

  • TomTom shares slide 13 percent after Volvo contract loss
    News
    Reuters

    TomTom shares slide 13 percent after Volvo contract loss

    Volvo awarded TomTom a contract in 2016 to provide location and navigation services from next year, but TomTom said on Tuesday that contract has been canceled. Shares extended early losses after TomTom chief executive Harold Goddijn, on a call with analysts after the company announced forecast-beating third-quarter earnings, attributed customer defections to user experience rather than purely price. TomTom shares were down 13.2 percent at 6.22 euros at 1435 GMT, while Amsterdam's benchmark AMX midcap index was up 1.5 percent.

  • 2 arrested in north Edmonton coin store robbery
    News
    CBC

    2 arrested in north Edmonton coin store robbery

    Police have arrested two men in an armed robbery which saw more than $120,000 in antique coins and cash taken from a north Edmonton currency store in September. The investigation began Sept. 19 when officers responded to a robbery at coin shop on 118th Avenue near 125th Street.

  • Family of missing Airdrie man doubles reward in hopes someone will come forward
    News
    CBC

    Family of missing Airdrie man doubles reward in hopes someone will come forward

    It's been 12 days since Cameron Collin disappeared from a rural property in Montana, and the Airdrie man's family has now doubled their reward offer, hoping the money will help coax someone with information come forward. Julia Collin, Cameron Collin's sister, said the boys spent the day drinking and shooting clay pigeons at a rural property on Pryor Road, southeast of Billings. When nighttime rolled around, the group decided to head to town to go to the bar, but Cameron Collin got left behind.

  • All-season road to N.W.T.'s proposed Prairie Creek Mine approved
    News
    CBC

    All-season road to N.W.T.'s proposed Prairie Creek Mine approved

    The federal government gave its final approval to the road to the Prairie Creek mine — an advanced-stage zinc, lead, and silver mine — last week. "The ideal time to build the road will be [first quarter] in 2020, with production in 2022," said Don MacDonald, president and CEO of NorZinc Ltd., the owner of the mine. More than half of the road will pass through the Nahanni National Park Reserve.