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Rockets fly past Cavaliers
Updated: 2004-12-30 11:23

Without LeBron James in the second half, the Cleveland Cavaliers could not muster their usual home magic.

Houston Rockets ' Yao Ming from China, puts up a shot against LeBron James (23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second quarter Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2004, in Cleveland. [AP]
Tracy McGrady scored 22 of his 34 points after James was knocked from the game as the Houston Rockets snapped a five-game road losing streak with a 98-87 triumph over the Cavaliers.

With less than two minutes left in the second quarter and the Rockets leading, 50-40, James attempted to intercept a pass in the lane, only to be hit near his left eye by a violent elbow from reserve center Dikembe Mutombo.

James was on the floor in obvious pain for a few minutes before leaving for the locker room with a towel held to his face. A day before his 20th birthday, James was 0-of-5 from the floor with five assists when he left.

James did not return but his absence seemed to spark the Cavaliers, who rallied to tie the game in the third quarter. Cleveland never managed to reclaim the lead, however, and lost for just the third time in 14 home games.

McGrady scored 10 points in the third quarter, including the Rockets' last five to help his club take a 73-69 lead into the fourth. With the margin stuck at four with just over two minutes left, Houston's star forward scored seven straight points - capped by his third 3-pointer of the contest.

Yao Ming scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half and Juwan Howard added 17 on 7-of-9 shooting as the Rockets won on the road for the first time since November 21.

Drew Gooden scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who held a 50-38 rebounding advantage.

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