The Cavaliers came into Houston Wednesday night to battle the Rockets, a team that has not won at home since December 8. However, for the second consecutive game, Cleveland did not have their leading scorer Darius Garland(back), and it showed.
The Rockets had six players in double figures, led by Jalen Green and Christian Wood’s 21 points apiece as they upended the Cavs 115-104 at Toyota Center.
Houston(15-36) snapped an 11-game home losing streak with the win and their four-game losing streak overall. Cleveland(31-21) falls to fifth in the Eastern Conference and is two games behind the Bulls for the top spot in the conference.
Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Rockets:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-After scoring four points in the win over the Pelicans, Evan Mobley bounced back. He had a double-double with a career and game-high 29 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Mobley had a double-double in the first half. This is how you come back after a bad performance. The great LeBron James is the last rookie in Cavs’ history to have more points and rebounds in a game.
-Kevin Love also gave the Cavs a double-double. Love had 21 points and 13 rebounds off the bench. He, too, had a double-double in the first half. According to Elias Sports, the last time the Cavs had two players with double-doubles in a single half was when Love and LeBron did it back in 2014. In addition, Love became the seventh player in team history to record 4,000 rebounds.
Points in the Paint: Cleveland had to go inside without Garland, and they scored 60 of their 104 points in the paint. They were led by Mobley, who was dominant in the lane.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
Turnovers: The Cavs had 19 turnovers, leading to 27 points for Houston. Cleveland is currently 28th in turnovers per game(15.0). It’s hard to win, even against bad teams, when you turn the ball over 19 times.
-Free Throw Line: Cleveland struggled at the line against the Rockets, and they shot 15/27(56%) from the charity stripe. The Cavs lost by 11 points. If they make their free throws, maybe it’s a different game.
Three-point Shooting: The Cavs had a hard time from downtown. Cleveland shot 7/21(33%) from deep. Love had the most struggles from three-point range as he shot 1/7.
Defense: The Cavs allowed a team to score 115 points for the second time in three games. The Rockets are fifth in the NBA in points in the paint, and they reached their average as they scored 48 points in the paint Wednesday night.
Second Quarter: Cleveland trailed 32-31 after one quarter, but things fell apart in the second. Houston had their largest lead of the game of 15 points in the quarter, and the Cavs were fighting uphill the rest of the way. The Rockets led 64-53 at halftime.
Officiating: This game did not have much of flow, and that was because of the foul calls. There was 50 fouls called in this game. The two teams combined for 60 free throws.
Again, this was a winnable game for the Cavs. However, the offense did not have much of a flow against Houston, and the Cavs just could not find their rhythm without Garland.
The last three games against the Pistons, Pelicans, and Rockets were very winnable for the Cavs. However, the Cavs were 1-2 in those games, and even though they did not have Garland in two of those games, they still had to find a way to win.
“We just didn’t play well,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said post-game. “Credit to the Rockets, don’t take anything away from what they did, but we didn’t get the job done at the level that we’re capable of tonight.”
Cleveland travels to Charlotte to battle the Hornets Friday night.
Best of the Rest:
-Cedi Osman had 13 points; Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro added 11 points apiece for Cleveland.
-For Houston, former Cav Kevin Porter Jr. and Garrison Mathews had 16 points apiece.
Former Cavs guard Kevin Porter Jr. was supposed to be one of the key pieces for Cleveland this season. The former 2019 first-round pick showed a lot of promise for the Cavs and averaged 10.0 points per game as a rookie. Cleveland hoped he would take that next step in Year two.
However, last November, Porter was arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle after he was involved in a car accident in Ohio. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed, and Porter plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Porter, who was away from the Cavs due to personal reasons to start the season, would finally join the team in January, but it was not for long.
According to The Athletic, Porter grew angry when he entered the locker room and realized the team gave his old locker to Taurean Prince, who was acquired in a trade Wednesday. Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where the younger, end-of-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food. General manager Koby Altman came into the locker room and confronted Porter, and the player remained combative with Altman.
The 21-year-old Porter would eventually be traded to the Rockets in late January for a second- round draft pick.
On Friday, Cavs GM Koby Altman discussed what happened with Porter in Cleveland.
“It was challenging; it was a very difficult decision that we had to make,” Altman said at an end of the year Zoom conference. “A lot of it I’m going to keep private. Obviously, I’m not going to go too deep into the weeds. It wasn’t for a lack of effort from both parties. We spent a lot of time, a lot of resources trying to make it work, trying to reingratiate him to the team…
“I think the change of scenery was needed for both parties. We wish him nothing but the best in Houston. I know him personally. We scouted him extensively. I knew some of the background when we took him, and it was a calculated risk, and it didn’t work out.”
Porter played well in Houston, including scoring a career-high 50 points against the Bucks in April. In 23 games with Houston, Porter averaged 16.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per contest. He seems to be a piece that the Rockets will build with next season.
It would have been nice to keep Porter in Cleveland, but it does appear the Cavaliers did everything in their power to make it work, and unfortunately, things did not go their way. However, if Porter continues to get better, he could be the one that got away.
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded guard Kevin Porter Jr. to the Rockets in exchange for a future second round draft pick, the team announced on Friday.
Porter, 20, who returned to the team on Friday for the first time this season after missing time due to personal reasons, reportedly had an outburst after the Cavs’ victory over the Knicks. According to The Athletic, Porter became angry when he realized that his locker had been moved.
On Friday, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman explained why the team decided to go in a different direction.
“After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade,” said Altman. “Given the culture and environment we have worked to cultivate here in Cleveland, we feel this move is in everyone’s best interest. Kevin has a bright career ahead of him as a professional basketball player and, at his core, is a good person. We wish Kevin and his family well in Houston.”
Porter has had his share of off the court issues this offseason, including being arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle back in November. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed.
The second-year guard was the 30th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by Milwaukee and was acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade with Detroit on June 26, 2019. He appeared in 50 games (three starts) with Cleveland last season, averaging 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.92 steals in 23.2 minutes.
Houston gets a talented player in Porter, and if he works on whatever is hindering him off the court, he could be a key contributor for the Rockets in the future.
Kevin Porter Jr.’s time with the Cleveland Cavaliers appears to be over after an outburst last Friday night.
According to The Athletic, Porter grew angry when he entered the locker room and realized the team gave his old locker to Taurean Prince, who was acquired in a trade Wednesday. Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where the younger, end-of-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food. General manager Koby Altman came into the locker room and confronted Porter, and the player remained combative with Altman, and now the Cavs are looking to trade or release the second-year player, according to the report.
The 20-year-old Porter, who was away from the team this season due to personal reasons, joined the team for the first time on Friday and was on the bench for Cleveland’s win over the Knicks.
Unfortunately, Porter has had his share of off the court issues this offseason, including being arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle back in November. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed, and Porter Jr. plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who according to The Athletic, was “disgusted and shocked” by the incident, said Porter was not with the team after practice on Monday.
In the end, Bickerstaff felt the team did everything it could to help Porter have success in Cleveland.
“I genuinely believe that we did our best to make it work, so I can rest easy with that,” Bickerstaff said. “Again, all we want is the best for him moving forward. No matter what that looks like, we want the best for Kevin. Still, if there is still any opportunity, we’ll do what we can, and that’s the only thing that really matters is that he reaches his potential, and that’s the only thing that really matters to us.”
Porter, who was the 30th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, was acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade with Detroit on June 26, 2019. Porter played in 50 games (three starts) with the Cavaliers last season, averaging 10.0 points (12th among rookies), 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists (7th among rookies), and 0.92 steals (4th among rookies) in 23.2 minutes.
Porter has a lot of potential, but it’s clear he has some issues he needs to work through. Maybe Porter can get in a situation where he can get the support necessary to be better going forward. The Cavs appeared to have tried their best to help Porter, but now, we’ll see if Cleveland can find a taker for him.