Cleveland at Houston

Rockets hold LeBron assist-less in win; Cavs' Wallace breaks leg

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

HOUSTON -- LeBron James missed shots, complained to the refs and went an entire game without an assist for the first time in his career.

The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, showed they just might be contenders in the Western Conference with a 93-74 victory against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Yao Ming scored 28 points and Ron Artest added 15 while harassing James on defense most of the game, leading the Rockets to their six consecutive victory and ninth straight at home.

"It is a big win," said Yao, who hit 13 of 15 shots, despite Cleveland's constant double-teams. "We played against one of the best quality teams in this league. That is a really good test for us to see how far we can go."

James scored 21 points, but went 7-for-21 from the field with three turnovers. He left for good with 4:03 left, the only time in 493 NBA games (counting playoffs) he failed to record an assist.

"I'm not happy with that at all," James said. "I can't remember the last time I didn't have an assist, but as a team, we didn't move the ball at all. We'll just move on to the next game."

To make matters worse, forward Ben Wallace broke his right leg in the second quarter and will miss four to six weeks, the team said. Wallace is Cleveland's best interior defender, but went out after Yao accidentally kicked him.

"I'll definitely be back for the playoffs, I'm hoping to come back before then," Wallace said. "Realistically, I don't know how much I'd help the team, just coming back for the playoffs. It'd be tough, I'd be out of rhythm. I don't want to go out there and put my team at a disadvantage. It's more on me to catch up with them."

The Cavaliers had season-low point totals in the first (11) and third (10) quarters, and their 34 percent shooting (27-for-80) was also a season worst. Cleveland looked just as bad as it did in a 92-77 loss in Houston last season -- James had 32 in that one, but the Cavs shot 39.7 percent.

"We just can't seem to get into a good flow against the Houston team," James said. "A lot of credit has to go to them; they are a very good team. Offensively, we couldn't make a shot, and we could never get in any rhythm."

Von Wafer scored 19 points, and Luis Scola added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets. Houston had 25 assists, its sixth consecutive game with 20 or more, and went 8-for-19 from 3-point range.

But the Rockets are more satisifed with their defense lately -- they've held their past six opponents to an average of 83.6 points.

"You may get into the second round (of the playoffs), but if you want to make a serious run and be a serious contender," Wafer said, "you've got to be able to continue to play defense. We are trying to come together as a unit."

Mo Williams also scored 21 for the Cavs, who saw a five-game winning streak snapped.

Shadowed by the equally strong Artest from the opening tip, James missed three of his first four shots, part of Cleveland's 2-for-10 start. The Cavs double-teamed Yao whenever he touched the ball, but Scola scored eight early points to help Houston build a lead.

James was called for a charge late in the opening quarter when he spun into Shane Battier on a drive. The Cavs went 3-for-17 from the field in the quarter and trailed 19-11.

"They wanted us to take jump shots," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "They gave us the jump shot, but we just couldn't convert it."

James was resting on the bench at the start of the second period and Williams' 3-pointer from the top of the key ended a six-minute field goal drought for Cleveland.

Kyle Lowry scored on back-to-back trips, then assisted on Yao's layup and Brent Barry's 3-pointer as Houston pushed the lead into double digits.

James kept missing shots in the second quarter and earned another offensive foul after bumping into Battier again. He sank a 3-pointer from the wing, his second basket in nine shots, before Artest drove for a left-handed dunk for a 37-29 Rockets lead.

The Cavs shot 31 percent (14-for-45) from the field in the first half and trailed 45-40 at the break.

The Rockets had assists on their first five baskets of the second half and Aaron Brooks' 3-pointer put Houston up 56-46. James tried a no-look, over-his-head pass to Anderson Varejao later in the period, but the ball sailed out of bounds.

"Couldn't get a rhythm, man," James said.

The Cavs shot 5-for-17 from the field and coughed up five turnovers in the third quarter to trail 68-50.

James took a rest and returned with 7:21 left in the game, but the Rockets never lost control. Yao blocked James on a dunk and Wafer swished a 3-pointer at the other end for an 85-68 lead.

Notes

  • Cavs G Delonte West had four points and three turnovers after missing Tuesday's game against Memphis with soreness in his right wrist. On Wednesday, West visited a doctor in Houston who confirmed that his wrist fracture was healing properly.
  • Rockets F Carl Landry missed his fourth consecutive game with a sprained right ankle.
  • The Cavs are 18-4 against the West this season.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Even LeBron can't believe he didn't get an assist for the first time in 493 NBA games.  (Getty Images)
Even LeBron can't believe he didn't get an assist for the first time in 493 NBA games. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Cleveland (44-12) 1129102474
Houston (37-21) «1926232593
CLE:L. James 21 Pts
CLE:Z. Ilgauskas 13 Reb
CLE:M. Williams 4 Ast
HOU:Y. Ming 28 Pts
HOU:L. Scola 9 Reb
HOU:K. Lowry 7 Ast
Players of the Game
HoustonCleveland

Y. Ming

M. Williams
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
28802144

Related Video

August 27, 2015
Kyrie Irving might be out till January (1:04)
August 21, 2015
JR Smith returning to Cavs
(2:20)
August 13, 2015
LeBron's Team USA status
(1:28)
August 12, 2015
Top notable games for the 2015-16 NBA season
(2:07)
Cleveland
L. James, SF347-215-610421
M. Williams, PG338-182-244221
Z. Ilgauskas, C295-121-2130411
D. West, SG292-80-03104
B. Wallace, C170-10-04120
D. Gibson, PG311-52-26204
A. Varejao, C290-40-05210
W. Szczerbiak, SF273-84-440211
T. Kinsey, SF41-20-00002
J. Hickson, PF40-00-00010
D. Jackson, PF30-10-01000
E. Snow, PGDid Not Play
L. Wright, CDid Not Play
S. Pavlovic, SGDid Not Play
T. Johnson, SGDid Not Play
Totals 27-8014-1641101674
 33.8%87.5% 
Houston
Y. Ming, C4013-152-480428
S. Battier, SF391-31-25313
R. Artest, SF375-153-343215
L. Scola, PF355-74-492314
A. Brooks, PG301-70-04723
V. Wafer, SG215-105-510319
K. Lowry, SG203-60-03736
C. Hayes, PF91-30-02122
B. Barry, SG81-40-02203
B. Cook, PF20-10-01000
D. Mutombo, CDid Not Play
T. McGrady, SGDid Not Play
L. Head, PGDid Not Play
C. Landry, PFDid Not Play
J. Dorsey, PFDid Not Play
Totals 35-7115-1839252093
 49.3%83.3% 
Other Games
Pho 106 Final
LAL 132