Suns Eclipse Cavs at The Q

Phoenix' Fast Start Sends Cavs to Third Straight Loss
Kyrie Irving
Last season, the Cavaliers suffered through a Sunday funk – going 0-12 in games wrapping up the weekend. This year, they’ve successfully avoided that trend – until Sunday’s matchup against Phoenix.

Phoenix scored the first 12 points of the ballgame, and that set the tone for the afternoon, with the Suns going wire-to-wire over a flat Cavaliers team – handing Cleveland its third straight loss, 108-83.

Early in the second quarter, the Wine and Gold cut the Suns’ edge to two – 33-31. But Phoenix would close out the half on a 26-7 run and took a 59-38 lead into intermission.

The Cavaliers never regrouped after halftime. They didn’t get closer than 15 in the third quarter and cut Phoenix’ lead to under 20 just once in the fourth. The Suns led by as many as 28 in the final period.

“We’re just not a very good team right now,” said Coach Byron Scott. “That’s the bottom line. You have to give Phoenix a lot of credit. They came out and played extremely well and executed on both ends of the floor. It was just like we were almost sleepwalking a little bit.”

Cleveland featured just two players in double-figures: Kyrie Irving and Omri Casspi.

Irving finished with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting, adding six boards and four assists. Irving outscored two-time MVP, Steve Nash – 16-4 – but Nash notched a game-high13 assists with just a single turnover, while Irving committed five miscues in 28 minutes of action.

“There’s a lack of energy and we’re not together out there,” said Irving. “We’ve got to figure it out one way or another and I feel confident that we will figure it out.”

As a team, the Cavaliers committed 22 turnovers that led to 25 points for Phoenix. Cleveland shot just 39 percent from the floor and was eclipsed in the paint and on the break. The Cavaliers didn’t block a single shot and have just one in the past two games.

Omri Casspi led the Cavaliers’ second unit with 14 points, going 5-of-10 from the floor with five boards and a steal. On the night, Cleveland’s bench almost equaled its starters, with the reserves netting 41 of the team’s 83 points. Every Cavalier who dressed on Sunday got into the scoring column.

The Suns had five players in double-figures, led by Marcin Gortat and rookie Markieff Morris. Gortat mauled the Cavs’ interior in the opening quarter, netting 12 points. Morris tallied nine of his 22 in the fourth.

The week doesn’t get easier for the Cavaliers – who travel to Philly on Tuesday before returning to face the Pistons on Wednesday at The Q. After a day off Thursday, they play another back-to-back – against the Bucks at home on Friday and the Knicks on Saturday in New York.

  • Antawn Jamison went down hard – with Marcin Gortat on top of him -- with 6:39 left in the first quarter. He suffered a left leg/ankle contusion and walked off the court gingerly, but returned later in the half. Jamison had been averaging 21.9 ppg in March, but finished with just two points on Sunday.

  • Daniel Gibson missed his third straight game with the left ankle sprain he suffered on Monday night in New Jersey.

  • The Cavaliers are just two wins away from last year’s total and came into Sunday’s game trailing only the Timberwolves and Clippers in winning percentage increase. (19-63, .232 – 17-29, .369)

  • Kyrie Irving is looking to join an elite group of No. 1 overall picks to average 18 points and five assists as a rookie. Irving – at 18.9 ppg, 5.7 apg – would join Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson and LeBron James.

  • Luke Walton got easily his longest run as a Cavalier on Sunday – entering the ballgame when Jamison went down in the first. He scored his first points with the team, notching seven points on 3-for-4 shooting.

  • Manny Harris grabbed a career-high nine boards in Sunday’s loss.