CLEVELAND - The Houston Rockets played again without Dwight Howard. Unfortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, James Harden was in the building. Harden scored 37 points, including 17 in the third quarter, and the Rockets led from wire-to-wire in a 118-111 victory on Saturday night. With Howard out for a third straight game because of a sore left ankle, Harden provided a boost. He was 9 of 15 from the field, hit five 3-pointers, made all 14 of his free throws and had 11 assists without playing the fourth quarter after Houston built a 29-point lead late in the third. "Great players do that, they get going," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "Ive seen James do it countless times, but thats what separates him from a lot of players. He has the ability to do that." Harden dominated in just about every aspect of the game. He drove to the basket, buried shots from well beyond the 3-point line, converted free throws and found open teammates. "I just tried to be aggressive and be in attack mode to get to the rim," he said. "If the drive is there, I take it. If its not, Ill do something else. I just use my basketball instincts." Cleveland has lost four straight and played again without point guard Kyrie Irving, who has been sidelined for three games with a strained left biceps. Houston made its first four shots and took a quick lead in snapping a three-game road losing streak. The Rockets also strengthened their hold on the fourth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Chandler Parsons scored 16 points for Houston while Patrick Beverly added 15. Dion Waiters led Cleveland with 26 points. Tyler Zeller added a career-high 23 points for the Cavaliers, who also played without forward Luol Deng (sprained left ankle). The Rockets played their reserves for most of the fourth and Cleveland cut into the margin. Harden had eight points and eight assists in the first quarter, which saw Cleveland coach Mike Brown call timeout twice in the first four minutes as Houston took a 17-4 lead. The margin reached 15 points in the second period and Houston shot 59 per cent in the first half. Cleveland scored the first seven points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 67-62, but Hardens five free throws sparked a 9-0 run and the Rockets regained control. His four-point play pushed the lead to 87-70. Harden hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key moments later, then added a dunk and another 3-pointer as the lead reached 101-72. "Obviously, Harden had a monster game," Brown said. Howard returned to practice Friday and participated in Saturday mornings shootaround, but didnt dress for the game. He played in each of Houstons first 66 games, but was a late scratch Monday, had a cyst removed from the ankle the following day and didnt play Thursday. "I dont think he feels quite good enough to play, but he feels much better," McHale said before the game. Houston is undefeated in the eight-time All-Stars absence. Howard scored 26 points and had six rebounds in the Rockets 106-92 win over Cleveland on Feb. 1. He averages 18.6 points and 12.4 rebounds for the season. Injuries and a brutal schedule have dropped Cleveland out of playoff contention. The Cavaliers are 2-8 in March and trail Atlanta by 6 1/2 games for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland, which has also dropped games to the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami and Oklahoma City in the streak, has lost eight of 10 and has dropped five straight at home. The Cavaliers fell behind by 24 points in Thursdays loss to the Thunder, a trend Brown is displeased with. "Thats two games in a row that weve come out and our first group has just been flat," he said. "Theyve been flat offensively, flat defensively. So its been an uphill battle, especially being short-handed." The difficult schedule continues Sunday when the Cavaliers travel to New York, which has won eight in a row. Cleveland was routed 113-86 on Jan. 30 at Madison Square Garden. The Rockets have won four straight and six of their last seven against the Cavaliers. Seth Curry, signed by Cleveland to a 10-day contract Friday, scored three points in eight minutes. Hes the younger brother of Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry. NOTES: Rockets guard Francisco Garcia isnt with the team because of personal reasons. ... In addition to missing Irving and Deng, the Cavaliers played without guard C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle) and forwards Anthony Bennett (strained left patellar) and Sergey Karasev (sore right knee). ... Seth Curry appeared in one game earlier this season for Memphis, playing four scoreless minutes. ... Houston plays at Charlotte on Monday. Kony Ealy Jersey
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. Starting from pole, the 26-year-old Vettel turned in a trademark clinical performance to win the Indian Grand Prix on Sunday and join F1 greats Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as just the third driver to win four consecutive championships.There is no doubt the Montreal Canadiens are facing adversity in the Eastern Conference Final. Yet heading to New York, the Habs remain positive as it all comes down to the one main ingredient that the organization has built its team on - character. And now its being put to the test. From Geoff Molson, to Marc Bergevin, to Michel Therrien and right through the dressing room, the Canadiens have preached character. While the belief of "No Excuses" still hangs on the dressing room walls, the main trait they has nearly become a motto has been character. After the devastating news prior to Game 2 that Carey Price would not be available for the remainder of the series, Therrien said in his press conference that after everything Price had done for the team, it was time for the team to do something for him. Win. Win and give him a chance to return this season for a shot at the Stanley Cup. While the Canadiens could have played the sympathy card and come out flat, they came out instead with a very strong performance in Game 2 but faced a storyline they themselves have cast on opponents several times during the season. That story is facing a hot goaltender. Lundqvist was outstanding with his 40 saves. Its a game the Canadiens must build on and convince themselves they can win on the road without Price. The Habs have faced tough stretches earlier in the season, and found ways to bounce back. They will have to rely on their leadership and character to carry them through..dddddddddddd Playoff veterans like Daniel Briere have been through these situations before. In fact, the last time the Canadiens were in the Conference Final was in 2010 against Briere and the Flyers, where Philly used both Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher to roll into an improbable appearance in the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago. Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges, Andrei Markov and Brandon Prust have all been through playoff experiences that can help in a leadership role to support the team through this adversity. Its no secret that the Canadiens will need offensive production as well from Thomas Vanek, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk to name a few. A perimeter shot with no traffic in front of Lundqvist isnt going to work. Theyll need to drive the net, go back to the dirty areas and cause some traffic in front of the Rangers net. P.K. Subban will also need to put some points on the board, and help ensure the Canadiens power play can take advantage of any chances they get. It will take a full team effort, but the Habs have shown through the year they have the resiliency to battle through, and now that battle is on Broadway. Teams with great character always find a way, and while its not an easy task heading on the road trailing in the series, the opportunity is still there to change momentum back into Montreals favour. The Habs now have to find a way to seize that opportunity. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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