James’ big game continues Cavs’ streak
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – LeBron James erupted for 44 points and 11
rebounds as Cleveland downed Phoenix, 113-106, at Quicken Loans Arena.
Aleksandar Pavlovic scored 15 points, while Donyell Marshall netted 14. Damon
Jones scored 11 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 10, and Drew Gooden added 10
rebounds for the Cavaliers, who notched their fifth straight victory.
“We had a lot of great individual performances that helped us get this team
victory,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “LeBron had a great game. He also
had some very key defensive possessions that helped us down the stretch
Everyone that played did something that helped contribute to this win.”
Steve Nash scored 24 points, while Shawn Marion posted 22 points and seven
rebounds to pace the Suns, who had a two-game winning streak stopped. James
Jones notched 20 points and Eddie House added 16 in the loss.
Phoenix appeared to pull away early in the third quarter with a 12-0 run to
take a 72-55 lead.
But, James scored 16 points in the period to keep Cleveland close, eight of
which occurred in less than a minute. After a 29-13 Cleveland run, the Cavs
trailed just 87-84 heading into the fourth.
“We knew a team like Phoenix is going to shoot a lot of jump shots and we were
going to have an opportunity to get back into the game,” James said. “I just
wanted to be a little more aggressive. I was able to do that and put our team
back in a position to win the ball game. That’s all I wanted to do.”
Cleveland took its first lead, since the first quarter, 93-91 on a fadeaway
jumper by James with 8:18 to go, part of a 21-8 Cleveland run. The Cavs
continued to control the game for its duration.
The score stayed close through the first quarter until Jones and Nash scored
two straight three-pointers for a six-point lead, 24-18, with 3:15 on the
clock. With 13 first-quarter points, Nash continued to lead Phoenix on a 14-4
run for a 32-22 score heading into the second quarter.
The Suns retained control in the game after the start of the second quarter,
augmenting their earlier spurt into a 24-4 run. Cleveland responded with an
8-0 run to stay close behind Phoenix, 42-32 after Ilgauskas hit a jumper with
8:19 on the second-quarter clock. James split two Phoenix defenders and scored
a finger-roll layup with two ticks left on the clock to cut Cleveland’s
halftime deficit to 60-51.
The Suns outscored the Cavs 20-4 in first-half fastbreak points.
The Suns, who will conclude a six-game road trip with stops in Philadelphia
and Boston, are 12-9 away from home this season…Phoenix and Cleveland have
split the season series of two games…Phoenix has won six of the last eight
meetings…Raja Bell did not play because of a calf injury, after starting 43
straight games for Phoenix.