The Houston Rockets stormed back from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers 106-100 on Tuesday night.
Houston's comeback started with defense. Patrick Beverley, Michael Beasley, Clint Capela and even James Harden made every shot difficult during the fourth quarter and especially down the stretch. Cleveland shot just 13-of-40 (32.5 percent) from the field in the second half and struggled to get consistent offense outside of Kyrie Irving's 31 points.
The offense of Harden (27 points and eight assists) and Beasley (17 points in 27 minutes) was also key, as both players did the majority of their damage after intermission. Not even a 7-of-22 night at the free-throw line from Dwight Howard could keep Houston from losing.
The 37-38 Rockets strengthened their grip on the Western Conference's No. 8 seed and are now just a half-game away from the seventh-seeded Utah Jazz. They will host the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
Cleveland (52-22), meanwhile, will eagerly welcome James back from his rest Thursday night in a home contest against the Brooklyn Nets.