Cavaliers blow 26 point lead and fall to Suns 107-105
BY JUSTIN LADA
(PHOENIX, AZ) - Cleveland fans are used to seeing their teams blow late leads in games and choking away chances. What happened in Phoenix to the Cavs on Friday night showed the prime example of what the Cleveland Cavaliers are right now, talented but young, dropping their second straight game, falling to the Suns 107-105.
The Cavs played nearly a perfect game in the first quarter. They opened the game, creating turnovers and sinking their first five shots, opening up a 10-0 lead in just two and a half minutes. They forced eight turnovers and came up with six steals, en route to a 37-16 lead, leading by 18 at one point, 22-4.
Kyrie Irving didn’t do all the heavy lifting in the first quarter however, finishing with six points after the first buzzer. Anderson Varejao returned from injury to pour in eight points in the first quarter and the same for Dion Waiters. Alonzo Gee also put in six.
So how did the Cavs blow a 13 point halftime lead? They finished the game with 20 turnovers and as Byron Scott put it after the game, were aggressive in the first quarter defensively, but that didn’t continue throughout the second half.
The Cavs shot 56% in the games first half, but the Suns would open the second half with an 11-3 run, as the Cavs shot 1-9 during that run. A pair of Markieff Morris free throws with five minutes to go in the third, pulled the Suns within six points, 74-68. From there the Suns began to climb out of their early hole.
Cleveland was lucky to end the third quarter with the lead as Shannon Brown finished the final 1:34 of the third on a personal 5-0 to cut the lead to 83-76.
Brown, the former Cavalier, single handedly brought the Suns back in the fourth, scoring 10 of the first 15 points the Suns scored in the fourth. He twice tied things up, with a mid-range jumper tying things at 83-83, then again with a three pointer, making it 91 all.
Dion Waiters did all he could to fend off Brown, pouring in seven of his own in a row in a 1:07 span. Waiters’ heavy lifting with just five minutes to go, kept the Cavs up 95-91. But with 2:09, Michael Beasley hit a jumper to finally give Phoenix their first lead of the game, 102-101.
Daniel Gibson hit a clutch three with :13.1 to go, to bring the Cavs within one, 106-105. However, it took the Cavs eight seconds to foul Sebastian Telfair on the inbounds pass. Telfair split the pair of free throws, but the eight seconds cost the Cavs dearly as Irving was only got up the shot with just a tick remaining on the clock, an errant three.
Waiters finished with a Cavs high of 23, the first time he has led the Cavs in scoring this year. He scored 12 in the fourth quarter on 5/7 shooting. Gibson finished 19 off the bench, keeping Donald Sloan tied to his chair as Scott went with the hot hand.
CJ Mils, who might be suffering from the same sickness that plagued Irving earlier this road trip, was 0-7 in 12 minutes off the bench.
Irving finished with a game high seven turnovers, but did have eight assists.
The Cavs 1-3 on this early season six game road trip and will hit the road to face Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma Thunder at 7pm on Sunday.
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