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Cavaliers pummel Rockets for 5th straight win

Sportsnaut
Dec 15, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Houston Rockets forward Jae'Sean Tate (8) rebounds beside Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen (24) in the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Houston Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate (8) rebounds beside Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen (24) in the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Darius Garland scored 17 of his 21 points during a runaway first half as the host Cleveland Cavaliers blitzed the shorthanded Houston Rockets 124-89 Wednesday.

Garland shot 7 of 11 from the floor and hit a trio of 3-pointers as the Cavaliers extended their winning streak to five games, their longest since April 2018. Isaac Okoro chipped in 20 points while Kevin Love (15 points, six rebounds) and Ricky Rubio (seven points, 12 assists and four steals) continued their stellar play off the bench for Cleveland, which has won 9 of 11.

The Rockets trailed by as many as 45 points and were without Christian Wood (knee), Eric Gordon (groin), Jalen Green (hamstring) and Kevin Porter Jr. (thigh). Alperen Sengun had 19 points and 11 boards for Houston.

The Rockets played like a team missing their top four scorers. Houston started 0 for 7 from the floor yet managed to close to within 12-9 when D.J. Augustin converted a transition layup.

Cleveland called a timeout, stymied momentum and responded with a 12-1 run that featured a Garland assist to Love on a reverse layup and a Garland 3-pointer to cap the run. Rubio later closed the period with a flourish, hitting a fadeaway jumper before picking the pocket of Rockets rookie Josh Christopher and feeding Ed Davis for a buzzer-beating layup.

The Cavaliers held a 35-16 lead after Houston missed 15 of 20 shots in the opening period. The Rubio sequence that closed the first quarter was part of a larger 18-0 run that included 3-pointers from Garland and Lauri Markkanen, four free throws from Love and a Cedi Osman dunk off a Rubio assist that extended the Cleveland lead to 47-16 with 9:37 left in the half.

Cleveland kept its foot on the gas. Okoro drained a corner 3-pointer for a 50-21 lead at the 8:37 mark of the second. Dean Wade (16 points, 10 boards) nailed a 3 with 3:50 left in the period that enabled the Cavaliers to double up Houston 64-32. And just prior to the buzzer, Garland beat his defender off the dribble for a finger roll layup that gave Cleveland a 69-38 halftime lead.

Rockets coach Stephen Silas departed in the first quarter after suffering from dehydration.

–Field Level Media