LOS ANGELES (AFP) – 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.
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.
Golden State meanwhile was thumped 125-105 by Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul George and Russell Westbrook combined to dismantle the Warriors defence. George finished with 38 points while Westbrook added 34.
Kevin Durant led the scoring for the Warriors with 33 points against his former team. Draymond Green was ejected for the third time this season after lobbing the ball at an official.