At least this wasn't a west coast start time.
If fans would have had to stay up late to watch what transpired at the ‘Q' Tuesday night between the Cavs and the Rockets they would have likely taken up torches and marched toward Gateway Plaza with murder on their minds.
In the end, the Rockets beat the Cavs 93-85 in as sloppy a game as you're ever likely to see.
One can't be sure how long a New Orleans hangover will last, but it's safe to say it affected the Cavaliers and Rockets All-Stars for at least 48 minutes of play on Tuesday. Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James and Daniel Gibson (3-pt Shootout and Rookie Game) all participated in this past weekend's All-Star activities. Between them they were 17-61 from the field. And if you can't beat the Rockets on a night when McGrady and Ming were 9-38 from the floor, well, things probably didn't go too well.
James did overcome a terrible shooting night to lead the Cavs with 26 points. He also gathered 13 rebounds and passed out 11 assists in collecting his 5th triple-double of the season. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Larry Hughes each added 16 points for the Cavs.
Unfortunately for the wine and gold, no one on the bench reached double figures in any category. In fact, the bench as a whole didn't reach double figures in either points or assists. It's that type of ‘production' that will limit a club to 36 first half points, which is what the Cavaliers scored to trail at halftime 42-36.
James got going in the second half to keep it close, but it was far too little, far too late.
Rafer Alston led the Rockets with 22 points, including 6-10 from long range. McGrady added 17, Ming 16 and some guy named Luis Scola chipped in 15 points and 8 boards.
Even on an ugly night like this there were:
Things We Loved (This will be extremely short)
Scarier still is that there are a couple teams out there who can neutralize James as much as he can be neutralized by way of their defense or via match-ups. San Antonio is one team that can force the Cavs to look for someone other than James to beat them. Houston is another. The Rockets play very good defense and they typically limit an offense to one shot at the basket.