Suns burn LeBron and Co. to win 17th straight
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Steve Nash scored 23 points, doled out 15
assists and did not have a single turnover, as the Phoenix Suns extended
their team-record winning streak to 17 games with a 115-100 win over the
Shawn Marion scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Suns, who
have been virtually unbeatable since starting the season slowly. Phoenix has
now won 35 of 38 since a 1-5 start, a stretch that includes a 15-game winning
streak and the current franchise-record 17-game run.
Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points and raked in seven boards, and Leandro
Barbosa scored 19 points for the Suns.
LeBron James, who played despite a sore big toe that kept him out of Friday’s
105-97 win in Philadelphia, finished with 30 points and nine rebounds in
defeat. Drew Gooden scored 19 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for the Cavs,
who have lost three of their last four and six of eight. Donyell Marshall
added 15 points off the bench for the Cavs.
The Cavs were able to hang tight with the NBA’s hottest team for much of
Sunday’s contest, but when crunch time rolled around the Suns made the plays,
and Cleveland couldn’t respond as Phoenix rolled to yet another victory.
“The margin of error against a team like this is really small,” said Cavs head
coach Mike Brown. “They are a great team and we have to lace them up and get
ready for our next game.”
Phoenix opened the fourth quarter with eight straight points, part of a 12-2
run that put the game away. A Barbosa three put the Suns up 99-87 with 8:10
left, and, after a dunk by James, a reverse layup by Nash and two Stoudemire
free throws put Phoenix up 103-89 with just under five minutes left. Cleveland
never threatened as the Suns cruised to the 15-point win.
Barbosa scored nine points in the third quarter, including a three-pointer and
a three-point play in the final two minutes that closed out Phoenix’s scoring
in the period. The three-point play put the Suns up 91-84 with 35 seconds left
in the third. Marshall answered with a trey, though, and pulled the Cavs to
within 91-87 entering the final quarter.
James scored nine in the first quarter, including a free throw with six
seconds left that gave Cleveland a 26-23 lead entering the second.
Phoenix edged into the lead in the second quarter, but the Cavs stayed within
striking distance and only trailed 58-56 at the half.
Phoenix improved to 20-1 against the Eastern Conference…The Cavs
outrebounded the Suns, 42-30…The Suns put their streak on the line Monday
night in Minnesota.