THE FACTS: The Phoenix Suns never have been much of a shot-blocking team.
The Suns, the NBA's top shot-blockers so far, got a big swat by Marcin Gortat in the closing seconds that led to a fast-break basket as the Suns pulled out a thriller Friday night over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 107-105.
Gortat, the season's leading shot blocker, timed his leap perfectly in blocking a driving layup by the Cavs' Dion Waiters with 44 seconds left. The Suns got the ball to Shannon Brown, who was sprinting down the floor to give the Suns a 105-102 lead.
After Goran Dragic hit 1-for-2 at the free-throw line to make it 106-102, the Cavs' Daniel Gibson nailed a 25-footer to draw the Cavs within 106-105 with 13 seconds left.
Then Sebastian Telfair dribbled out eight seconds of the clock before drawing a foul. But he missed one of the two free throws, giving the Cavs a chance.
But Kyrie Irving, blanketed by Dragic, fired up a 3-pointer from up top that bounced off the left side of the rim to end the game.
Dragic finished with 26 points. "Goran played to the point of exhaustion," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. Gortat had 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals and five blocks. He is averaging 4.3 blocks. The Suns are averaging 8.5 blocks.
"There's no magic potion or formula," Gentry said of Gortat's shot blocking. You have to be engaged."
Waiters had 23 points to lead the Cavs.
QUOTABLE: "It's the best young backcourt in the NBA."
-- Suns' Alvin Gentry on the Cavs' Irving and rookie Waiters
THE STAT: In coming back from 26 points (42-16 early in the second quarter), the Suns achieved the third-largest comeback win in their 44-season history, the largest ever at home."They just kept playing hard....We didn't react," said Cavs coach Byron Scott.
TURNING POINT: With Irving and Anderson Varejao resting to start the fourth quarter, the Suns outscored the Cavs 11-2 to start the quarter and take an 87-85 lead. "Obviously, we have to get more out of our bench than we've been getting," Scott said.
QUOTABLE II: "I'm perfectly happy here in Cleveland. But it might be a good time...to start politicking for a 4-year extension."
-- Cavs' Byron Scott, joking about the Lakers' coaching vacancy
HOT: Waiters and Irving scored 21 on just seven shots in the first half (they were 6-for-7, including 1-for-1 on 3-pointers and 8-for-9 on free throws.
NOT: The Suns' Michael Beasley shot 4-for-14, lowering his season field-goal percentage to .348.
GOOD MOVE: Scott went back to his original starting lineup, and the Cavs lit the Suns up for an 18-2 lead in the first five minutes.
BAD MOVE: Gentry stuck with Markieff Morris for 10 brutal minutes in the first half. Morris ended up 0-for-9 with four points and seven boards.
ROOKIE WATCH: Waiters hit 9-for-13 for 23 points. Kendall Marshall, the Suns' No. 1 pick, did not play. He has played eight minutes in two games.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Brown is averaging 15.3 points as the Suns' sixth man.
NOTABLE: The Suns' biggest comeback ever was when they won at Boston on Dec. 5, 2003 after being down by 29 points.
UP NEXT: For the Cavaliers, Sunday @ Oklahoma City, Tuesday @ Brooklyn and Saturday vs. Dallas. For the Suns, Saturday @ Utah, Monday vs. Denver and Wednesday vs. Chicago.