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Flustered Cavs misfire against Rockets

The Houston Rockets have won games this season with a balanced offense that almost always produces 100 or more points.

The Houston Rockets have won games this season with a balanced offense that almost always produces 100 or more points.

They used some of the stingy defense that has been their trademark in recent years to handle LeBron James and the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers last night

Aaron Brooks scored 27 points, Trevor Ariza had 26 and the Rockets held James and the Cavaliers to one of their worst offensive performances of the season in a 95-85 victory.

James scored 27 points, but was 8-for-21 from the field. No other Cleveland starter reached double figures and the Cavs matched their season-low point total.

The Cavaliers also had 20 turnovers - five by James.

"We just can't have unforced turnovers," James said. "You have to take pride in avoiding them and we didn't."

Shane Battier scored 14 points for Houston and played effective defense on James all night. Shaquille O'Neal scored only seven points on 2-for-8 shooting, and was one of three flustered Cavaliers to earn a technical foul.

"No one guy is going to stop LeBron, and no one guy is going to stop Shaq," said Battier, who also had three steals and two blocks. "But our guys did a great job of building a wall behind LeBron and just by being there, they deterred some of the drives. We played really good help-side defense."

Cleveland outrebounded Houston 47-37, but mustered only 19 points in both the first and third quarters. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown was ejected late in the first half for protesting a no-call on a James' drive.

"We lost our composure a little bit," O'Neal said. "Way too many technicals. We still had our chances to win, but we just didn't pull through."

In other games:

* At San Antonio, Richard Jefferson broke out of a slump with 23 points, including a dunk to cap a 14-point run at the end of the first half, and the Spurs beat Sacramento, 118-106.

* At East Rutherford, N.J., Monta Ellis scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, and the Golden State Warriors beat the New Jersey Nets, 105-89.

* At Atlanta, Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 29 points and the Hawks opened the second half with a 20-4 run and beat the Chicago Bulls, 118-83.

* At Milwaukee, rookie Brandon Jennings scored 22 points, lifting the slumping Bucks to a 117-95 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

* At Minneapolis, Chris Paul streaked past Jonny Flynn on an inbounds pass to hit a layup with 1.4 seconds left and lift the New Orleans Hornets to a 97-96 victory over Minnesota.

* At Indianapolis, Brandon Roy scored 29 points, leading the Portland to a 102-91 victory over the Pacers. LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and eight rebounds, and Andre Miller scored 15 for the Trail Blazers.