Houston (13-15) at Cleveland (17-11)

Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Dec 29, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It seems like LeBron James shows the Cleveland Cavaliers how valuable he is every night.

Taking the court a day before his 20th birthday, James will try to build on another spectacular performance when the Cavs welcome Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets to Gund Arena.

James had 40 points, nine rebounds and seven assists on Tuesday as Cleveland cruised to a 111-102 win at Atlanta. James, who entered the game ranked fifth in the NBA with 24.6 points per game, finished three points shy of his career high, set Nov. 24 against Detroit.

“He’s doing everything for us,” said Cleveland coach Paul Silas, whose team won for the third time in four games. “We certainly wouldn’t be where we are without him. To be this young and have the understanding of the game that he has is just unreal. I marvel at him.”

James, last season’s Rookie of the Year, scored more than 30 points for the seventh time this season. He is the youngest player to reach 500 career assists and rebounds.

“He fuels us,” Silas added. “As LeBron goes, so we go.”

The Cavaliers are 11-2 at Gund Arena this season, with James averaging 28.8 points on 54 percent shooting.

Cleveland is 4-0 at home against the Western Conference this season, including a 114-109 win over league-leading Phoenix on Nov. 10. The Cavs are an Eastern Conference-best 7-3 overall against the West.

The Rockets started their two-game road trip with a 115-87 loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday.

McGrady led Houston with 20 points, while Bob Sura added 19 points and six assists. Yao Ming was held to 10 points and three rebounds in 22 minutes.

Yao said most of Houston’s trouble was caused by mental lapses.

“We (were) just not ready to play tonight,” he said. “They scored a lot in transition and second chances. If you give them those, you can’t win.”

As a member of the Orlando Magic last season, McGrady averaged 37.3 points on 52 percent shooting against the Cavs. He averaged 28 points overall in winning the scoring title for the season straight season.

The Rockets are 5-4 all-time at Gund Arena, but just 2-4 on the second night of back-to-back games this season.

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