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CLEVELAND - All Houston coach Kevin McHale had to do was remind Dwight Howard the Cavaliers didnt have a centre to stop him.Once he did, the Cavaliers didnt have a chance either.Howard grabbed eight of his 19 rebounds in the decisive fourth quarter and James Harden scored 21 points as the Rockets roared past Cleveland for a 105-93 win Wednesday night over the Cavs, who played their sixth straight game without LeBron James.The Rockets broke away with a 15-5 run in the fourth and handed the Cavs their seventh loss in nine games. Corey Brewer made a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight consecutive points in Houstons spree.But it was Howard who made the biggest difference. He dominated at both ends, scoring nine of his 17 points in the final 12 minutes while imposing his will on the Cavs.The whole game changed when Dwight just got every rebound, McHale said. They were beating us up on the boards. We were complaining a lot in the huddle about us being better on the boards. He probably took it to heart. Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 38 and Kevin Love added 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Cavs, who lost their fourth straight at home. J.R. Smith went scoreless in 19 minutes in his Cleveland debut. The unpredictable guard was acquired earlier in the week from the Knicks along with guard Iman Shumpert.As the game was tipping off, James said hes on target to return in a week from a strained back and left knee.The Cavs need him. They fell to 1-6 overall without the four-time league MVP, and with an upcoming trip out West, things could get a lot rougher for a team expected to contend for a title.James, who hasnt played since Dec. 28, will accompany the Cavs on their five-game trip and said its a possible chance Ill play on the trip, at some point. Hes one week into a rehab program and could be back for a Jan. 15 game against the Lakers.During the game, the Cavs pulled off their second big trade in three days, acquiring 7-foot-1 centre Timofey Mozgov from Denver in exchange for two first-round draft picks. The Cavs could have used Mozgov in the second half to battle Howard, who grabbed 12 boards after halftime and even jawed with some Cleveland fans in the final minutes.We challenged him to rebound and he got every one of them, McHale said. If we missed it, he got it. If they missed it, he got it. Thats a good combination for us.Howard didnt recall McHales pep talk, but something got him going.I just saw some opportunities to where instead of just watching the shot, I was fighting for the rebound, Howard said. Ive got to start doing more of that when things arent going at the offensive end, just go get it off the glass.The Cavs led 74-73 after three quarters and were within 80-79 on Matthew Dellavedovas 3-pointer before the Rockets grabbed control.Howard scored inside and Brewer knocked down his two 3s and a pair of free throws to make it 88-79. Hardens 3-pointer gave Houston a 98-86 lead with 2:19 left, but the Cavs wouldnt go away and were within seven when Houstons Josh Smith nailed a long 3 to finally finish off Cleveland.Irving, who missed Mondays loss in Philadelphia with a sore back, scored 23 in the first half, making 9 of 11 shots and moving with his usual cat-like quickness on drives.Harden, the NBAs leading scorer at 27 points per game, was just 2 of 10 from the field in the opening half.NEW GUYAs expected, Smith didnt immediately mesh with his new teammates during his first minutes on the floor. The Cavs traded for him to add scoring, and they added Shumpert to improve their defence.I just never got into a rhythm, Smith said.ON GUARDMcHale had high praise for Irving, who went 15 of 26 from the floor and made four 3-pointers.Hes slippery, McHale said. Our biggest problem with him, other than the fact hes a good player, is we kept digging for the ball. The guys got it on a string. Every time wed dig, hes just go by us.TIP-INSRockets: G Patrick Beverley, who strained his left shoulder Monday, started and scored seven points in 30 minutes. ... Houston snapped a three-game road losing streak.Cavaliers: The Cavs hope to have Mozgov in time for Fridays game in Golden State. ... General manager David Griffin said Shumpert will miss at least two more weeks before he can return to the floor. Hes missed 66 games the last four seasons. ... Cleveland is just 4-7 against Western Conference teams.UP NEXTRockets: At New York on Thursday.Cavaliers: At Golden State on Friday. 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Vincent Lecavalier scored at 2:45 of overtime and the Flyers rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 5-4 victory on Sunday.VAIL, Colo. -- Lindsey Vonn is energized by her progress in recovering from a knee injury and might be in the starting gate next week in Canada. Vonn spoke with The Associated Press on Friday after three early super-G training runs. This was her first big test since she crashed during training at Copper Mountain last week and partially tore a reconstructed ligament in her right knee. "Definitely, Im encouraged," she said. "Its looking a lot better than everyone expected. Things are going well." Wearing a brightly colored jacket over her speed suit, the reigning Olympic downhill champion took an easy opening run through the course on a crisp morning. On her second pass, Vonn got a little more aggressive, picking up more speed as she glided down the hill. For her third and final run, she opened it up even more to see how her knee responded. "So far, so good," she said after her workout. So much so she remains hopeful she might race in Alberta next week. Asked about her readiness for Lake Louise, Vonn said: "Im not sure yet. As it looks right now, yeah." She concedes theres plenty more work to do to get into shape. "Im taking it day by day. Im not pushing it that hard yet," Vonn said. "Today, I was just kind of feeling it out. But tthe last run was better.dddddddddddd It was more like normal. Im skiing in my clothes and seeing how things go so far. Im not taking unnecessary risks yet." Some say Vonn shouldnt push so soon, especially with the Sochi Games not until February. Why not come back in January to give her surgically repaired knee more time to heal? "Because I want to start in Lake Louise," Vonn said of a course she dominates so much its known as "Lake Lindsey." She laughed as she unbuckled her ski boots and stuffed them into her car. "Im just going to progress every day until Lake Louise," Vonn said. Vonn spent Thanksgiving Day squeezing in a little free skiing, posting on her Facebook page: "First day back on snow since my crash and it was awesome!" She also attached a picture of herself -- grinning -- on an empty slope in Vail. This, however, was a bigger step. The 29-year-old Vonn is not planning to attend the season-opening World Cup downhill on the new Beaver Creek course on Friday because "its too hard on me." Vonn had her sights set on returning for this race after tearing ligaments in her right knee during a high-speed accident at the world championships in February. She was on target, too, before her Copper Mountain crash. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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