Slow Start for Suns Too Much to Overcome in Loss to Cavs

by Cody Cunningham

The Suns had a strong fourth quarter on Saturday against the Hornets and the team hoped to play off of that momentum as they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Head Coach Jay Triano went with a smaller starting lineup of Elfrid Payton, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren and Dragan Bender in hopes of playing at a faster pace.

“We were hoping to play the way we did the other night in the fourth quarter when we went small with the floor spread and being quick and playing quick,” Triano said.

Unfortunately for the Suns this did not seem to work out as planned as the Cavaliers quickly took a double-digit lead and finished the quarter up by 20.

“It seemed like we missed a lot of easy shots early. We got down 20 in the first quarter,” Triano said. “Missing a lot of those easy shots, a lot of foul calls against us early in the game kind of put us in a big hole that we couldn’t ever get out of.”

The Suns went on to outscore the Cavaliers in the second quarter, but were never fully able to find their way back into the game. Cleveland’s defense was focused on the Suns’ leading-scorer in Booker and did all they could to stop him on the court.

“It started with the head of the snake in Booker,” LeBron James said. “He can go off for 50 or 60 if you’re not in tune. I think we definitely did that." 

Booker still managed to score 17 points with six assists and three rebounds, but it just wasn’t enough as the Cavaliers held onto their early lead and defeated the Suns 129-107.

“I think right now it’s an evaluation period for us,” Booker said. “You look at teams like Cleveland, you make one mistake, you’re out the game. We have been babied a little bit and it shows sometimes. We need to look ourselves in the eyes all together as a team and understand that this game isn’t given to you.”

Jackson and T.J. Warren led the Suns in scoring with 19 a piece. This was the first opportunity of Jackson’s career for him to go head-to-head with James and he looked forward to the matchup.

“He’s the best player in our game right now and he’s the bar,” Jackson said. “You just want to see where you stack up against the best I guess.”

The Suns hit the road and travel to Utah as the team prepares to face the Jazz on Thursday. Catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.