The Houston Rockets must have been salivating to see the Cleveland Cavaliers on their schedule. At some point this season, LeBron James and Cleveland may get it together defensively, but so far they’ve just looked old. Coming into the game, the Cavs had lost five of seven and during that stretch, they've given up 117 points to Atlanta, 124 points to Indiana, 114 points to New York, and 123 points to New Orleans. At the same time, the Rockets have scored between 115-137 points in their last four games.

As expected Thursday night, the Cavs' defense had a hard time keeping up with the Rockets' ball movement, rebounding, and shooting, but got monster games by LeBron James (33 points) and Jeff Green (27 points) to keep the score close.

Rockets game recap

Houston stepped onto the floor locked and loaded, and ready to shoot. They put up 14 first quarter three-pointers. And while they only knocked down four, they ran away from Cavs in the opening frame 36-25. The Rockets went on an immediate 9-2 run in the second quarter, but Cleveland reserve forward Jeff Green scored seven straight to get the lead back down to 11. In fact, the entire period turned into the Jeff Green show. He scored 20 points in the 12 minutes and with the help of LeBron James gave the Cavs a two-point edge at the half. James had 22 first-half points along with this monster dunk.

The wildly entertaining game picked up right where it left off in the third. James Harden dropped 15 points in the quarter to help the Rockets outscore the Cavs 35-26.

But Cleveland battled in the final period to keep the game within reach. With 1:39 left, Green hit a jumper from the top of the key to make it a one-point game, but a Clint Capela bucket and free throw extended the margin to four. A James’ layup brought it down to two, but it was Capela again with an offensive rebound and basket to put the game out-of-reach.

Rockets game MVP

James Harden scored 56 points in his previous game against Utah. He continued with his hot shooting against the Cavs, scoring 11 first-quarter points on 3-5 shooting. Harden had 17 at the half but then went on that 15-point scoring binge in the third quarter. He finished with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists.

Rest of Rockets’ starters

Trevor Ariza had his hands full attempting to guard LeBron James. No one can stop him, so the best way to offset James' offensive game is to score on the other end of the floor. Ariza did a solid job at that, knocking down 5-13 shots for 17 points. In addition to Harden’s triple-double, Clint Capela added his own double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Eric Gordon, still starting for an injured Chris Paul, hit four three-pointers on his way to 20 points. Ryan Anderson chipped in five points and four rebounds.

Rockets’ bench

Only two Houston players got major minutes off-the-bench. Both were highly effective offensively and defensively. NeNe Hilario played 15 minutes and scored 10 points, while PJ Tucker had 11 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes.