On a night where the Cleveland Cavaliers offense struggled to get anything going, the Phoenix Suns took full advantage of Cleveland’s bad shooting night and cruised to a 108-83 victory on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Although six players off of the Cavaliers (17-29) bench got on the scoreboard, the Suns’ (25-24) bench outscored Cleveland’s bench 54-41. The starting lineup for Cleveland also had a rough day, as Antawn Jamison, Alonzo Gee, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Parker combined for only 16 points. Those 16 combined points matched point guard Kyrie Irving’s 16 points. Irving also recorded four assists, one more than the combined total assists of the four other starters.
Other than shooting just 38.6 percent from the field, the Cavaliers also turned over the ball 22 time, double the amount of times that the Suns turned over the ball. Irving turned over the ball a game high five times. Turning over the ball has been a reoccurring problem for Irving, especially when he goes up against veteran point guards such as the Suns Steve Nash. Even though Irving has to eventually learn how to take better care of the ball, match ups against veterans like Nash can help the rookie guard improve his game and learn from the best, even if it means struggling while in the learning process.
Along with the Cavaliers horrible offensive production Sunday night, the Suns very good shooting night was also a very important reason for their blowout win. The team combined shot a staggering 51.2 percent from the field, as it was primarily powered by starting center Marcin Gortat and bench players Shannon Brown and Markieff Morris. Even though they shot a combined 26-40, Morris shot the best of the three, going 9-12 from the field. His 22 points were a big reason why the Cavaliers bench seemed outmatched.
What hurt the Cavaliers Sunday, and what was been hurting them all season long, is the lack of a controlling force down low. Recently-traded Ryan Hollins, who didn’t fan out as a commanding force for Cleveland, was just another experiment of Cleveland trying to find a pure center and failing at it. With Anderson Varejao, who was a forward who took on the center role for the Cavaliers to start the season, still out with an injury, Hollins, Semih Erden and Tristan Thompson were trading off with the center position in Varejao’s absence. Thompson, who has just recently took on that role, has had the most success with doing so. Today the Cleveland big men were out played as the Sun’s centers outscored Cleveland’s 36-12.
Another weakness that was evident in the Cavaliers play on Sunday was the play of Cleveland’s old men Jamison and Parker. Jamison, who was on a hot streak for a while, finds himself in one of the worst shooting slumps of the season. Jamison shot 1-8 from the field (0-5 from three), only managing to score two points. Parker, who is having one of the worst statistical seasons of his career, converted on only one field goal. They are playing their way right out of Cleveland as they will become unrestricted free against at the end of the NBA season.
The Cavaliers will try to fend off their losing ways since the All-Star break on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Tip off is at 7:00 p.m.