After getting down by 26 points early in the first half, the Phoenix Suns came out on top against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first meeting of the season at home on Nov. 9. It was the Suns largest comeback at home in the teams history. Tonight will be the final meeting of the season between the two teams, as the Cavaliers will try to even the score on their home turf. The Suns got off to a horrendous start in their last meeting, but rallied back behind Goran Dragic and Shannon Brown. Dragic finished with a game high 26 points, and Shannon Brown added 22 off the bench, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Brown has moved into the starting lineup for the Suns since their last meeting. Dion Waiters finished with a team high 23 points for Cleveland, with Daniel Gibson adding 19 off the bench. Cleveland’s leading scorer Kyrie Irving, who had 17 points and eight assists in their first meeting, will not play tonight due to a fractured left index finger he suffered on Nov. 17.
The Suns are hoping to avoid their worst road start since opening 1-7 in the 2002-03 season. They are 1-5 on the road this season, with their only win coming against the Charlotte Bobcats on Nov. 7. This is game two of the Suns season-high six-game road trip, as the Suns dropped their first game of the trip 104-101 to the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday night. In a game that saw 16 lead changes and 10 ties, the Suns could not come up with the stops when they needed them the most. Head coach Alvin Gentry said, “I thought we did a great job down the stretch, but if you go back in the game, you’ll see we had plays where we just didn’t execute defensively. The effort is great and we continue to compete, but we have to be able to make the plays that win games for you.” Jrue Holiday scored a career-high 33 points with 13 assists to lead the 76ers in the win. The Suns are giving up an NBA high of 103.3 points per game, as well as allowing their opponents to shoot an NBA high of 43.0 percent from three.
The Cavaliers have lost three straight road games, losing most recently to the Memphis Grizzlies 84-78 last night. Leading 69-62 after three quarters, the Cavaliers were outscored 22-9 in the fourth period. Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao led the Cavs with 15 points each, with Varejao, averaging an NBA best 14.7 rebounds per game, pulling down 22 boards in the loss. The Cavaliers are looking forward to playing at home, as they have started the season playing 10 of their first 14 games on the road. Cleveland is giving up 102.2 points per game, just behind the league leading Suns. They are also allowing their opponents to shoot an NBA high of 49.2 percent from the field.
The Suns defeated the Cavaliers 108-83 in their last meeting at Quicken Loans Arena on March 25. Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris both had 22 points in the win, while Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 16 points. Morris has recently replaced Jared Dudley in the Suns starting lineup, and has averaged a team high 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds over the last four games. When asked about tonight’s game, Jared Dudley said, “We’ve got to put pressure on their guards. Any time we can get Waiters to slow down and keep Varejao off the boards, we have a good chance.” The Suns will be looking for their third straight win against Cleveland on the road as they try to sweep the season series.