It was a back-and-forth game through three quarters, but the Rockets pulled away in the fourth. James Harden, the NBA's fifth-leading scorer, led the charge. The star shooting guard finished with 29 points, his 16th straight game with 20-plus.
The Cavs contained Harden for much of the game, holding him to just four points in the first half. Harden exploded after the break, though, scoring 25 points, including 16 in the final frame. He also added seven steals.
For Cleveland, Kyrie Irving had another great game. The young point guard was fantastic, putting up 30 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals. He kept Cleveland close late, converting a three-point play and draining a three-pointer in consecutive possessions.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, Irving's offensive foul with just over 30 seconds left ended their comeback hopes. He also had six turnovers on the day.
Player of the Game: James Harden—SG, Houston
Harden's breakout season continued. The dynamic 2-guard shredded the Cavs defense in the second half, scoring in every way possible.
He struggled from the field (6-of-17), but he made up for it by sinking 14 of 15 free throws. He also supplied the dagger in the fourth quarter, hitting a step-back jumper with 45 seconds left to put the Cavs away.
What's next for the Houston Rockets?
The 20-14 Rockets are off until Tuesday, when they will take on the struggling Los Angeles Lakers in Houston. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET.
What's next for the Cleveland Cavaliers?
The 8-20 Cavaliers hit the road on Tuesday, taking on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. The game will start at 8 p.m. ET.