What is it about the Toyota Center? The Cavaliers have struggled in this building in the LeBron James era, going 1-5 after last night's 94-73 beatdown at the hand of the Rockets. LeBron was frustrated, in foul trouble, and never could get his game going. How bad was it? For the first time as a pro, LeBron James was held without an assist. That isn't all of LeBron's fault, of course, to get an assist someone has to make a shot, but many of LeBron's assists are dunks by Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas and neither did a whole lot of anything.
Give credit to the Rockets, especially Ron Artest and Shane Battier, for staying in front of LeBron and making him work hard for everything. Teams can do this to LeBron when the rest of the Cavs are not hitting shots and last night no one was hitting shots. As a team, the Cavs shot just 34% from the field, and played two of their worst quarters of the season. In the first quarter, the Cavaliers tied a season low by scoring only 11 points. Not to be outdone, the Cavaliers broke that "record" by scoring 10 in the 3rd quarter. Game Over.
There will be games like this, of course. It is a long season. The Celtics lost to the Clippers the night before. It's the way the Cavaliers lose at times. They get blown out. That's because the Cavaliers have a huge flaw that we have all known about - a lack of size and scoring up front. When teams with size force the Cavaliers to become a jump-shooting team, and the shots aren't falling, results like last night happen. The Cavaliers starting front-court(Z and Ben) were outscored 42-11 by Houston(Yao and Scola). Even worse was the fact that Z was a complete non-factor on defense as well. Usually one to stand up to Yao, Z's ankle injury has slowed him significantly. Yao, along with Luis Scola, had their way. Beyond the score, that is the biggest concern.
We'll get into the effects of Ben Wallace's injury a bit later, but the Cavaliers will need to regroup and fast. The best thing about a back to back is we can all forget last night and look forward to the Spurs tonight.