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Rockets Burn Cavaliers


Houston's bench made the difference Tuesday night.

Kenny Thomas scored eight of his 14 points during a 23-9 run at the start of the fourth quarter, and the Rockets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 91-83

We lost the lead in the third quarter, but the reserves came in and did a great job to save us," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said.

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Game Summary

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  • Houston trailed 64-61 after three quarters, then surged ahead with an 18-3 run to take a 79-67 lead with 6:42 left. Thomas' 3-pointer made it 82-69, and Cleveland never threatened after that.

    In all, Houston's reserves outscored the Cleveland bench 39-8.

    "It was just one of those nights," Thomas said. "Tonight I didn't hesitate. I took the shots."

    Shandon Anderson scored 23 points for Houston, Walt Williams 17, Thomas and Hakeem Olajuwon 12 each and Cuttino Mobley 11. Kelvin Cato grabbed 10 rebounds and Thomas had eight for the Rockets.

    Shawn Kemp had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland, while Andre Miller scored 21, Lamond Murray 14 and Wesley Person 13.

    Cleveland had 22, while Houston had 14.

    "Turnovers were critical for us tonight," Cavaliers coach Randy Wittman said. "I thought we handled the ball too carelessly."

    Guard Steve Francis returned to the lineup for Houston after missing two games with a right knee sprain but shot 2-for-13 and scored only four points.

    "I felt great out there," he said. "It was a good first game back for me, but I couldn't make my shots because I couldn't get my legs under me."

    Cleveland led 20-16 after the first quarter, but Houston opened the second period with a 14-3 run, getting six points from Anderson to take a 34-25 lead. The Cavaliers closed to 45-39 at the half after a pair of baskets by Miller.

    Miller scored 11 points in the third quarter.

    Notes

  • Cleveland has won 39 of its last 46 games when scoring 100 points or more.
  • The Cavaliers have scored 100 or more points 21 times this season after scoring 100 or more only four times in 50 games last season.
  • Houston signed guard Moochie Norris to a 10-day contract. Norris averaged 20.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 33 games for the CBA's Fort Wayne Fury this season.
  • Olajuwon needs 79 rebounds to to pass Jerry Lucas (12,942) for 11th place on the NBA's career list.

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