PHOENIX (AP) — Trailing by 26 points after only 14-plus minutes, Shannon Brown and the Phoenix Suns weren’t about to give up.
Brown scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and helped key a late 14-4 run as Phoenix rallied past the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-105 Friday night for the third-biggest comeback in franchise history.
“We just have a bunch of guys who don’t want to lose,” said Brown, who has consecutive 20-point games for the first time in his career. “We knew what our mistakes were and we corrected them. We’ve just got to do that in the first half.”
The Cavaliers scored on their first nine possessions and opened an early 18-2 lead. Phoenix finished the first quarter with more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six) and allowed Cleveland to shoot 63.6 percent from the floor.
Then the Cavaliers began the second quarter with five consecutive points to open their largest lead, 42-16, with 10:26 left in the period.
“We had a lot of turnovers and there were a lot of easy baskets they were getting,” Brown said. “We just had to lock in on both ends of the game. Everything kind of did a complete 180.”
Michael Beasley cut the Cavaliers’ lead to single digits for the first time since the opening minutes on a dunk off a fast break with 10:31 left in the third quarter, making it 62-53. But the Suns weren’t able to get any closer until the final period.
Brown tied the game at 83 on a fadeaway jumper with 9:46 left and Phoenix took its first lead, 87-85, just more than 2 minutes later on a fast-break layup by Brown.
“We just didn’t play smart,” said Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. “We turned the ball over and they got back in the game. They moved the ball better and they made shots.”
Dion Waiters almost single-handedly kept the Cavaliers in the game in the fourth, scoring 10 straight points during one 2-minute stretch that included a pair of 3-pointers, each of which gave Cleveland the lead.
P.J. Tucker hit a 20-foot jumper from the left corner to give the Suns a 103-102 lead with 1:32 to go. After the teams traded misses, Marcin Gortat blocked Daniel Gibson’s shot and Goran Dragic found Brown streaking down the right side for a fast-break dunk and a 105-102 lead with 37.4 seconds remaining.
“I’ve always been a scorer,” Brown said. “I didn’t get to this league because of anything else. I do whatever it takes for this team to win.”
Dragic made one of two free throws but Gibson connected on a 3-pointer with 13.1 seconds to play to pull the Cavaliers to 106-105. Sebastian Telfair dribbled the clock down to 5.1 seconds and made one of two free throws to make it 107-105.
Kyrie Irving had a chance to win it for Cleveland as time expired but his 3-pointer from the top of the key bounced off the back of the rim.
“I didn’t know I was going to take the last shot,” Irving said. “It wasn’t a designed play. I just went and got it and attempted it.”
Waiters scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Cavaliers. Gibson finished with 19 and Irving had 17.
“The story doesn’t change. It’s on the defensive end,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “Twelve good minutes, it’s as simple as that. I thought from the second quarter on we just played lackadaisical, just real loose with the basketball and that team, they just kept playing hard.”
Dragic scored 26 points for the Suns. Telfair added 13 and Gortat had 12.
“In the end we got it done, but I don’t want the long faces,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “I want us to believe that if we get ourselves in trouble we can bail ourselves out by coming up with stops and running on stops and not on trading baskets.”
NOTES: The Suns overcame a 29-point deficit at Boston in 2003 for the franchise record. … At 3-3, Phoenix is at .500 for the first time this season and has won consecutive games for the first time since April 7-9. … The Suns have trailed by double digits in all three of their home games. … Waiters finished 9 of 13 from the floor, including 3 of 5 on 3-point attempts. … Gibson had five 3-pointers and is within seven of Danny Ferry for fourth on the Cavaliers’ career list. … Cleveland has lost four of its past five against the Suns.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.