Final Dime: Suns 106, Cavaliers 98
J.J. Hickson doubled-up in Wednesday night's loss at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
After cutting a 17-point Suns lead to just three midway through the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers cooled off – canning just two field goals in the final five minutes and falling to the Suns, 106-98, on Wednesday night at The Q.
With 4:20 to play in the third quarter, Grant Hill’s jumper put the Suns up 17 – 83-66. Cleveland started the fourth quarter down 13, but Daniel Gibson and J.J. Hickson awoke offensively and Jamario Moon did the dirty work, defensively, to trim the lead. Moon’s trey made the score 93-90 with 6:25 to play.
But that was as close as the Cavaliers would get. Steve Nash went on to score eight of Phoenix’ final 13 points, and the Cavaliers fell for the 14th straight occasion. Cleveland has now dropped 24 of its last 25 games, including the second loss in 10 days to the Suns.
“Come Friday, if we can play defense like we played in the second half, then we give ourselves an opportunity to win,” said Coach Byron Scott. “(We did) a lot of good things (but), like I told the guys it is like coming in second place.”
Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 23 points, going 9-for-21 from the floor with six boards. He was one of four starters in double-figures, joined by J.J. Hickson, who doubled-up with 16 points and 15 boards.
Ramon Sessions, getting the start for an injured Mo Williams, had a solid game with 19 points, a team-high eight assists, five boards, three steals and a blocked shot. Sessions was 7-for-15 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the stripe in 38 minutes of action.
“We have got a lot of young guys out there, including myself, playing (extended) time for the first time,” said Sessions. “We have just got to build on it. We’re professionals, we have just got to keep working. That’s all you can do.”
Daniel Gibson returned to the lineup, pitching in with 16 points and a pair of blocked shots – going 6-for-13 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The Suns shot 47 percent on the night, but just 31 percent in the fourth quarter. Phoenix outrebounded the Cavaliers, 47-39, and missed just a single free throw. Led by Nash’s 15 helpers, the Suns scored 40 buckets on 29 assists.
Before hitting the road for three more, the Cavaliers get another home contest on Friday night – welcoming Central Division Milwaukee to The Q.
2. Boobie Gibson returned after sitting out the recent five-game roadie with a sprained left ankle. Gibson, who came off the bench on Wednesday, was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Gibson came into Wednesday’s matchup as the 10th-ranked three-point marksman in the league and is now shooting .448 from long distance.
3. The injury bug continued to bite the Cavaliers as Mo Williams, who’d been nursing a hip injury for a weeks, underwent additional testing at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, where it was determined that he’s been suffering from moderate inflammation of his left hip joint. Mo got a cortisone injection on Wednesday and will likely be on the shelf for at least the next two weeks.
4. With Mo Williams out, Byron Scott went with his 15th different lineup of the season.
5. Ramon Sessions has notched double-figures in 10 of his last 11 games, averaging 14.9 points and six assists per contest.
6. Nine different Cavaliers have led the Cavaliers in scoring this season.
7. Antawn Jamison has led the Wine and Gold on 15 of those occasions and is averaging 22.4 ppg in 2011. The 12-year vet has topped the 20-point mark four times and the 30-point plateau twice in January – tallying double-digits in every game but one.
8. In his four recent starts at the center spot, J.J. Hickson has been a beast – averaging 18.2 points and 14.7 rebounds in four starts in the pivot.
9. Jamario Moon set season-highs in blocked shots (5) and steals (3). He’s the first Cavs player to notch at least five blocks and three steals in a game since Zydrunas Ilgauskas did it in March, 2005. Moon joined the Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge as the only players to have five blocks and three steals in a game this year.
10. For the second straight game the Cavaliers registered double-digit steals. Aside from Samardo Samuels, every Cavalier finished with at least one theft, with Moon and Ramon Sessions grabbing three each.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.