NBA Basketball

96
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Houston 17 33 24 22 96
Cleveland 27 21 34 30 112
112
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CT23:30 , February 24, 2021
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio  Attendance: 2,720

Short-handed Rockets drag losing streak into Cleveland

According to STATS
According to STATS

Houston Rockets at Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. The Rockets and Cavaliers met just one time last season, a 116-110 win for Houston at Cleveland on December 11, 2019. For the Cavaliers, a total of 29 of the 110 points they scored in that game played in Cleveland's most recent game this season. For the Rockets, that figure is 20 of their 116 points.
  2. The Rockets lost to the Bulls, 120-100, at home on Monday. It was the Rockets' fourth 20-point loss this season, all in the last seven games. Houston has a combined point differential of -120 over those seven games, its worst seven-game stretch since March 1983 (-127 from March 2 to March 15).
  3. The Cavaliers snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 112-111 home win over Atlanta last night. Cleveland shot 53.6 percent from three-point range (15-for-28), its best shooting night from beyond the arc since November 13, 2018 (.524 versus Charlotte).
  4. David Nwaba tied a career high with 22 points against Chicago. Nwaba has averaged 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds over the last three games. Four other players under 6'6" have averaged 16.0 points and 10.0 boards over a three-game this season including two recent Rockets (James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Malcolm Brogdon and Hamidou Diallo).
  5. Collin Sexton scored 29 points on 9-for-16 shooting (56.3 percent) in the win over Atlanta. The Cavaliers are 7-2 in games when Sexton shoots 53.0 percent or better from the floor this season.
  6. The Rockets are 2-9 and the Cavaliers are 2-10 in February. The only team with a worse record this month is the Timberwolves (2-11). Cleveland is scoring 103.8 points per game this month while Houston is scoring 105.8, the two lowest scoring averages in the NBA since February 1.

Already dealing with a roster hamstrung by injuries, the Houston Rockets released veteran center DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday.

The move further reduced the Rockets' number of proven contributors heading into a Wednesday road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Houston enters with an eight-game losing streak. Cleveland snapped its 10-game skid with a dramatic 112-111 win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

Cousins averaged 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds over 25 games with the Rockets, numbers that spiked to 13.3 points and 10.9 rebounds in 11 starts. According to reports, Cousins had grown disillusioned with his limited role as a backup to Christian Wood, who has missed all eight games of the Rockets' slide due to a sprained right ankle.

Wood leads the team in scoring and rebounding.

Cousins did not play in the Rockets' 120-100 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, officially listed as out due to a right heel condition. However, rumors began to swirl last week regarding his imminent departure, and while not to the level of James Harden's exit, quickly moving Cousins muted any distraction to the team.

Houston will move forward committed to a small lineup, at least until Wood returns.

"I do think that it's a positive thing that it's resolved, not just for the group but for him," Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. "We really want what's best for him in this situation as well, and for him to have some clarity and some freedom to get to a situation where he can succeed is very, very important."

What remains paramount for the Rockets is to find a path to victory. Houston has struggled mightily without Wood, but the loss of Victor Oladipo (foot) has exacerbated matters. Oladipo has missed four consecutive games and six of the past nine, with injuries undermining his ability to gain traction in Houston following his acquisition in the deal that sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Rockets, who have used 18 different starting lineups this season, could be without both Oladipo and Eric Gordon (ankle) against the Cavaliers. Maintaining a positive mood is a chore.

"We've just got to go to the drawing board and figure out how to put pieces together," Rockets forward Danuel House Jr. said. "Once we get through the midst of this storm, everything else should be a cakewalk."

Entering Tuesday, Cleveland had the longest active losing streak in the NBA. That dubious distinction now belongs to Houston following the Cavaliers' victory over the Hawks.

Lamar Stevens dunked with 4.1 seconds left to give Cleveland a one-point lead. Atlanta, out of timeouts, was unable to get off a final shot before time expired.

Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 29 points. Darius Garland added 17 points and eight assists, rookie Dylan Windler had a career-high 15 points, and Jarrett Allen added 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Prior to the last-minute win, the Cavaliers were looking for anything to get them back on track. Expectations for Cleveland were low entering the season, but a taste of victory was desired still.

"Hopefully the success of the moment gives us a great understanding of what is needed and that it's not just a one-night thing because we had lost however many games in a row," Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "The hope is you see what it takes to win. You see the level of scrap that you have to play with, the level of grit you have to play with to give yourself a chance in this league to win.

"We are well aware of our circumstances. We know the only way we're going to get out of it is to scratch and climb and claw our way out of it. And our guys did that."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 24, 2021

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