Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - The Cavaliers recent road trip saw them lose three games by a total of 12 points.
Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Area, it was another lesson in growing pains, as the Cavaliers were awful from the offensive end, falling to the Phoenix Suns 91-78.
The Cavs already had learned a tough lesson the first time they played the Suns a few weeks back, blowing a 26-point lead and watching the Suns go on a 14-4 run in the final minutes to fall in Phoenix 107-105.
This one wasn’t like that, as the Cavs never had any offensive rhythm, and other than a spark in the third quarter that saw Anderson Varejao go off for 14 points and five rebounds that gave them a short-lived lead.
“Andy Varejao is fantastic, everybody else sucked tonight,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said to start his postgame thoughts.
“You play two good solid (road) games, and you come home like this, that’s the most frustrating part,” Scott said.
Goran Dragic led Phoenix with 19 points, while former Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley added 15 points. The Suns shot 37-for-79 on the night, good for 46 percent.
Varejao had just six points in the entire first half. On the night, he led the Cavaliers with 20 points and 18 rebounds, his 10th double-double of the season, and his 6th straight.
He currently leads the NBA in rebounds, and seems to be one of the few Cavaliers to play with a lot of energy Tuesday night.
“We didn’t play as a team tonight, the fourth quarter was terrible,” Varejao said. “We didn’t move the ball, we gave them some easy fast breaks, that’s why they won the game.”
The Cavs lead came at 59-57 in the third, but the Suns seemed to wake up out of their winter slumber, and once they did, it didn’t take much to put the game away.
Phoenix went on a game-changing 14-0 run, and in the final 15:01 outscored the Cavs 34-19, stopping any offensive flow the Cavs may have had in that third quarter.
The Suns were allowing 103.3 points per game entering Tuesday, the worst in the NBA, and they held the Cavs to 78 points on just 36 percent shooting.
The issues for the Cavs started right away, as they shot just 26 percent in the first quarter, 12 minutes that saw them trailing 19-13 at the end of one.
They outscored the Suns 19-18 in the second quarter, but the Suns still led at the half 37-31.
After a third quarter that stared to see the Suns go on their game-winning run, the Cavs were outscored 20-19 in the final 12 minutes.
Dion Waiters had 16 points for the Cavaliers with seven assists, and Alonzo Gee added 12 points with three rebounds and three assists.
“We have to be ready at all times, we have to mentally ready too,” Waiters said. “Four games in five night, we have to have a sense of urgency, especially at home, we didn’t do that tonight.”
The Cavs fall to 3-12 on the season with their fourth straight loss, while the Suns improve to 7-8, and are now 2-5 on the road.
The next game for the Cavs will be Friday when they head to Atlanta to play the Hawks. They return home on Saturday to play Portland.