CLEVELAND — All-Star guard James Harden fired in 37 points in the Houston Rockets’ 118-111 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
He hit the Cavaliers with a 17-point barrage in the third quarter, including a rare four-point play. He helped the Rockets post their third consecutive victory.
Harden, who did not play in the fourth quarter, converted nine of 15 shots from the field, five of eight from behind the arc and 14 of 14 from the foul line.
Guard Dion Waiters paced the Cavaliers with 26 points, four rebounds and eight assists. The Cavs (26-44) lost four in a row — all to elite competition.
Since moving into the starting lineup three games ago, Waiters is averaging 24.7 points.
Center Tyler Zeller had a career-high 23 points and six rebounds for the Cavaliers.
The Rockets (47-22) blitzed the Cavaliers with 39- and 36-point quarters en route to their lopsided victory.
Forward Chandler Parsons added 16 points and six assists for Houston, while guard Patrick Beverley had 15 points and five assists.
The Rockets shot 48.1 percent from the field, compared to the Cavs’ 50.5.
Houston, playing without injured center Dwight Howard, was out-rebounded 48-31.
Center Anderson Varejao recorded his 14th double-double on the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Guard Matthew Dellavedova posted his second consecutive double-double with 14 points, six rebounds and 10 assists.
Forward Tristan Thompson added 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Harden exploded for 12 of his 20 first-half points in the last three minutes. He also dished out nine assists to help the Rockets take a 67-55 lead at the intermission.
They shot a sizzling 59.5 percent from the field in the first half.
Beverley and Parsons each added 13 points for Houston.
Zeller had 11 points and five rebounds for the Cavaliers in the first half, while Dellavedova and Waiters each scored 10.
The Rockets shot 63.6 percent from the field in the first quarter, as they stormed out to a 39-31 advantage.
Parsons had 11 points on five-of-six attempts from the floor for the Rockets.
Waiters had seven points and three assists in the opening quarter.
NOTES: Normally when a player is signed to a 10-day contract, he takes a seat at the end of the bench. With G Seth Curry, he’ll likely be thrown into Cavaliers coach Mike Brown’s rotation. “His family has been around the game for a long time,” Brown said. “He’s not at the level of his brother (Stephen). His brother can shoot the ball, pass the ball, do a lot of things. His dad (Dell) was strictly a shooter.” … The Cavs were playing without G Kyrie Irving (strained left biceps tendon), F Luol Deng (sprained left ankle), G/F C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle), G/F Sergey Karasev (strained patellar tendinitis), F Anthony Bennett (strained left patellar tendon) and G Carrick Felix (left patella stress fracture). … All-Star C Dwight Howard missed his third consecutive game after having a cyst removed from his right ankle. “He’s feeling better,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “He’s not quite good enough.” … McHale was happy to have the 7-foot Omer Asik waiting in the wings at center. “He is really good defensively,” the coach said. He loves the way he communicates on the court. … Cavs G Dion Waiters is coming off a 30-point effort against Oklahoma City. However, he got called in on the carpet in Coach Mike Brown’s office after the game. Brown wants him to rebound more. “I want him to have the right mentality tonight,” Brown said. … The Rockets shoot more 3-pointers than any team in the league. However, they are ranked 16th in 3-point percentage.
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