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LeBron’s Cleveland buried by Orlando ‘avalanche’

Los Angeles, Wednesday @peoplesport11

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers crashed to yet another humiliating defeat against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday as James Harden scored his 15,000th career point to extend Houston’s winning streak to five games.

In Orlando, James scored 25 points but it was not enough to prevent the Cavs from slumping to a 116-98 loss in a roller coaster game. Cleveland looked to be in the mood for an emphatic win after piling on a massive 43 points in the first quarter and powering to 67-51 at half-time. But Orlando dominated the second half, outscoring the Cavs 65-31 in the final two quarters to complete a crushing win before their home fans.

A grim night for Cleveland also saw coach Tyronn Lue leave courtside midway through the second quarter with an undisclosed illness. Lue did not reappear and reportedly watched the remainder of the game from the locker room. Orlando were sparked by 34 points from Jonathon Simmons, on a night when all of Orlando’s starters cracked double digits. Cavs star James pinpointed a disastrous third quarter, when Orlando poured on 41 points, for the loss.

“They hit some big-time shots in the third quarter. The snowball turned into an avalanche in the third. A 41-point quarter is hard to come back from,” James said. James said Lue’s illness had also affected the team. “Unfortunately he’s sick and that’s all we heard.

He’s the captain of our ship so it’s a tough blow,” James said. The Cavs faced the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday back in Cleveland, who have already beaten them this season. Harden MVP?

In New York meanwhile, Rockets star Harden brought up 15,000 career points on as Houston swept to a 123-113 win over the Brooklyn Nets to maintain pressure on Golden State at the top of the Western Conference.

Harden finished with 36 points as the Rockets bagged a fifth straight victory to improve to 39-13, two wins back from the Warriors. Chris Paul had 25 points, with Clint Capela adding 18 and Gerald Green contributing 16 points from the bench. Harden was bombarded with chants “M-V-P!” during the game but said afterwards he was not thinking about personal honours. – AFP

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