Sun sets on Phoenix in loss to Cavs
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – LeBron James poured in a game-high 38 points
and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 24, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 114-109
overtime win against the Phoenix Suns at Gund Arena.
Drew Gooden contributed 16 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, while Jeff
McInnis chipped in 17 points for Cleveland, which has won two straight after
opening the season with three straight losses.
“It was just a gut effort,” Cleveland head coach Paul Silas said. “It was such
a great comeback. To win that kind of game is just unbelievable.”
Shawn Marion paced six Phoenix players in double figures with 22 points and
Quentin Richardson had 21. Amare Stoudemire netted 20 points before fouling
out and Joe Johnson collected 17 for the Suns, who suffered their first loss
of the season after opening the 2004-05 campaign 4-0.
Steve Nash had 15 points and a game-high 17 assists and Steven Hunter
contributed 14 points in a losing cause.
The Suns held a seemingly comfortable 19-point lead early in the fourth
quarter until Cleveland woke up. The Cavs battled back and trimmed the deficit
to one at 97-96.
Nash was sent to the foul line with 7.6 seconds remaining in regulation and he
buried both shots for a 99-96 Phoenix lead. Ilgauskas then sent the Gund Arena
crowd into a frenzy with an unlikely three-pointer from the top of the key to
even the score at 99 apiece with 3.6 seconds left. Johnson’s last-second
jumper was no good for the Suns and forced overtime.
“The play was designed for LeBron and we didn’t have a lot of time,” Ilgauskas
said. “LeBron got the ball and my man went to him and left me wide open.
LeBron passed it to me and I didn’t hesitate because I didn’t have time to
think about it and I just let it fly.”
Ilgauskas’ second basket of overtime staked Cleveland to a 105-99 lead with
2:10 left in the period. James later made a nice move in the paint before
kissing the ball off the glass for a layup, giving the Cavs a 107-99 advantage
with 1 1/2 minutes to go.
Phoenix never recovered after watching its lead evaporate and suffered its
first loss of the 2004-05 season.
“We let it slip away,” Richardson said. “That’s definitely a game we should
The Cavaliers led by a slim 24-23 lead after 12 minutes, but the Suns fought
back and carried a minuscule 50-49 edge into the locker room. Phoenix then
grabbed an 85-66 lead following three quarters of action.
Cleveland battled back from its largest deficit since trimming a 15-point lead
versus Detroit on March 7, 1971. Phoenix was aiming to open a season with five
straight wins for the first time since 1984-85.
Ilgauskas buried his fourth career three-pointer and the first since last
The Suns had won four straight and nine of the last 10 meetings with the