The Phoenix Suns visited “The Q” for a Saturday night spectacle. The Cavaliers wanted to rebound after a tough loss to the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks. Phoenix continued their tenuous push for the eighth seed in the West with an overtime victory over Jarrett Jack’s Brooklyn Nets. It was clear from the opening tip that both squads were on the second night of a back-to-back. On more than one occasion, it seemed the teams were playing at Headlands Beach Park and not on the hardwood. Still, the Cavaliers gave the hometown crowd a victory for the 13th consecutive time by owning the paint and fighting off a futile rally. Let’s get to it.
Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix Suns’
The Wine and Gold return to balmy Cleveland looking for their 13th consecutive home win. After allowing 36 first quarter points in the road loss to the Hawks, the Cavaliers will likely come out ready for opening tip. Fresh off a dramatic overtime victory in Brooklyn, the Suns come into town only a game and a half back in the tight race for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
The Suns gave the Cavs solar retinopathy for two and a half quarters from shining so bright. They shot 57% in the first half and kept punishing the King’s Men every single time Cleveland decided that playing defense on pick and rolls was for squares and guys on minimum contracts. Eventually, the Wine & Gold changed their tune; they played a little defense and hit some threes ending the third quarter on an 18-5 to make the game competitive. Markieff Morris led the Suns the whole game and made sure the Cavs still got a little sun burned down the stretch no matter the outcome. He had 35 points on 15-21 shooting to go with 7 rebounds. At the end of 48 minutes, the Suns shot 53%. LeBron James led the Cavs with 33 points, but more importantly, he had some vicious dunks that reminded me of 2010. J.R. Smith had the most timely buckets and shot 8-14 from three to finish the night with 29 points. (more…)
The Cavs have another West coast game, but this won’t be the same team we have all grown accustomed to watching over the past two weeks. King James is finally returning to action. It has been rumored that he hasn’t felt himself all season. As of right now, it has not been rumored that the King will return and still be super frail. I’m taking that to mean that he will once again be the high flying, ball swatting, bag of basketball sexiness I witnessed during the first few years of his career. Yay, optimism. Nate has some thoughts on tonight’s game that can be found here. (more…)
The Pacific division looks better than it actually is on first view. However, when you really examine all the Pacific teams, it’s hard to see any of them making it to the finals. These teams are second tier at what they may do best. The Warriors might be able to run and get a bunch of threes, but the Thunder can run faster and probably shut some teams down on the defensive end. The Clippers have a hyper efficient offense led by the brainiac Chris Paul, but the Spurs offense is still better. Even the revamped Mavericks could challenge any team in the Pacific behind a Dirk led offense and Rick Adelman/Tyson Chandler anchored defense.
PHOENIX 91, CLEVELAND 78
Well, if we can take one positive out of tonight, it’s that Anderson Varejao is amazing. That’s about it. Every other Cavs player mixed whatever good they did with a healthy helping of bad. A few were perhaps quasi-effective, but the individual performances tonight did not add up to a winning team performance. Not even close, in fact. This Cavs-Suns tilt was ugly on both ends of the floor, and it hurts my brain to even attempt to attempt at establishing a narrative for the game other than “Wow, the Cavs without Kyrie suck a little more than the Suns.” As such, I’ll go ahead and talk about the game by way of bullet point.
– Tristan Thomspon wasn’t impressive. Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola are a solid post duo, but they looked like Sampson and Olajuwon when defending Tristan down low. He has no offensive repertoire to speak of. Tigger shot 1-7 from the field for 5 points, and had no blocks or steals. However, I’d like to point out that he shot 3-4 from the free throw line. That’s not bad at all.
– Alonzo Gee was solid. He played some good defense, though that sort of thing is hard to quantify against the Suns, especially in a game like tonight’s- either they were scoring every time down the floor on an array of difficult shots, or they were missing an unconscionable amount of layups and corner threes. But we got the kind of ball we’ve come to both expect and treasure from Alonzo: 3-7 from the field for 12 points, a killer dunk, and a few steals and assists to go along with his constant flight around the floor. All NBA D-League players should take notes from Alonzo on how to make the NBA. The main thing is to play harder than anyone else on the floor.
– Jeremy Pargo played like Donald Sloan. 3-12 for 8 points. 5 points, 5 turnovers. Against Goran Dragic, who isn’t exactly a lock-down defender. He also had 5 fouls, playing the point guard position. How is that even possible? Let’s just move on.
– C.J. Miles straight-up dominated a 35-second stretch of this game, dropping six straight points. Unfortunately, it was the last 35 seconds of the game, and he sucked for the rest of the game. He missed a bunch of jumpers, and didn’t do anything else particularly well. It’s hard to believe that Byron Scott continues to play him over Omri Casspi, who looked at least mildly effective in 13 minutes and hit a couple of shots.
– Anderson Varejao is a monster, 20 points, 18 boards. The fifth straight 15+ rebound game in a row for Andy. He was on fire in the 3rd quarter, when he hit a flurry of mid-range jumpers on his way to 14 in the quarter. Without Wild Thing, the Cavs would have lost this game by 30. At the beginning of the season, I was all for trading Andy. But he’s played himself out of trade talks. There’s nothing of equal value that we could get in return.
-Dion Waiters actually had a decent game, despite another mediocre shooting night (7-20 from the field). He dished out 7 assists, and some of them were beauties. His play-making ability seemed almost Harden-esque at times, as he put the ball on the floor and whipped cross-court passes with ease. When Dion learns how to finish at the rim and hit his jumper regularly, he’ll be a real star in this league.
– Pretty much everyone else on the team sucked. I would love to blame this loss on Luke Walton, but he didn’t play. It was weird to see Tyler Zeller playing for the Suns. Or was that his brother, Luke? I couldn’t tell. Tough loss. Goodnight, folks.