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Wrap-Up – There are games that are broken down into a tale of two halves and then there’s Sunday night’s affair at The Q. In the first 24 minutes, the Wine and Gold might have played their finest half of basketball; the ensuing 24 might have been their worst – scoring just six points in the third quarter and watching an 18-point halftime lead evaporate. When the smoke cleared, the Cavaliers were on the wrong side of a difficult 99-90 decision, falling to 1-3 on the homestand.
Kyrie Irving led the Wine and Gold – scoring 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. Irving went 8-for-23 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the stripe, adding a game-high nine assists and a pair of steals. Tristan Thompson and Luol Deng each doubled-up on Sunday. Thompson finished with 17 points and 13 boards and Deng added 18 points, 10 boards and five assists. CJ Miles rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures, notching 10 of his 12 points before halftime.
Cleveland committed 14 turnovers that led to 20 points for Phoenix. Markieff Morris came off the Suns bench to set a season-high with 15 boards to go with his game-high 27 points.
Turning Point – It’s not difficult to determine when Sunday’s game came apart. The Wine and Gold built a comfortable 18-point edge at half, shooting 55 percent through the first two quarters and notching 61 points at the break. But Channing Frye canned his first three three-pointers of the second stanza and, by the halfway point of the period, the Suns had cut Cleveland’s lead to just four. When P.J. Tucker hit a layup to end the quarter, the Cavs lead was completely gone. In the third, the Cavaliers scored a season-low six points, shooting 9 percent (2-for-22) in the period.
Game Ball – Luol Deng – The two-time All-Star did a little bit of everything on Sunday night. He went 7-for-18 from the floor for his 18 points, grabbed three of his ten boards off the offensive glass and added a steal and one of Cleveland’s three blocked shots on the night.
By the Numbers – 10, 1 … points and rebounds that Anderson Varejao needs for 4,000 career points and 4,000 career boards as a Cavalier – joining only Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Brad Daugherty and Hot Rod Williams in that club. Sunday night’s game was also Varejao’s 513th as a member of the Wine and Gold – tying him with Craig Ehlo for ninth place on the franchise’s all-time list.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on the Cavaliers’ second-half struggles on Sunday night …
”It was very disappointing and our guys should be embarrassed with the way we played in the second half. Not only did we not contest shots, not only did we not get the bodies on three-point shooters, not only did we not move the basketball, but we turned the ball over too. We had nine turnovers for 15 points in a half. We should all feel embarrassed of the way we played in the second half.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers wrap up their longest homestand of the season on Tuesday night when they welcome the Pelicans to The Q. On Thursday night, the Wine and Gold hit the road again, facing the Knicks at the Garden in a game that could eventually have postseason implications. From there, it’s back to the Western Conference. The Cavs travel to Houston, where they’ll take on Dwight Howard and the Rockets on Saturday. On Monday evening, they travel to Dallas for a rematch with the Mavericks. Two days later, Cleveland comes home to face the Lakers.
Game Highlights: Suns 99, Cavs 90