Guard J.R. Smith scored 17 points including five three-pointers for
the Cavaliers (20-9), who avoided their first three-game losing
streak of the season after back-to-back road losses to Golden State
Forward Kevin Love had 16 points and seven rebounds and guard LeBron
James added 16 points and seven assists for Cleveland, who made
17-of-41 three-pointers in the game.
Forward T.J. Warren had 13 of his season-high 23 points in the
fourth quarter for the Suns (12-21), who have lost five in a row and
16 of the last 21 games overall.
Brandon Knight had 18 points and Jon Leuer and P.J. Tucker had 14
each for Phoenix.
Two days after losing to the 2-29 Philadelphia 76ers, the Suns put
up a much better fight but suffered the same result.
Down by as many as 11 in the second half, Phoenix inched within one
at 96-95 on a three-pointer by Knight with 1:27 left.
The Suns had a chance to take the lead but another Knight
three-pointer was wiped out by a Tyson Chandler offensive foul with
46.6 seconds left.
Cleveland had a disjointed possession but James saved the ball from
going out of bounds before Love found Irving for a long
three-pointer that gave his team some breathing room.
Irving had seven points and a steal in seven first-quarter minutes
and the Cavaliers led by as many as six.
Cleveland hit 12-of-19 shots in the quarter but led only 34-30
thanks to seven points from Leuer and six from Tucker and rookie
guard Devin Booker, making his first NBA start.
[to top of second column]
The Suns used a 9-0 run early in the second quarter to take a 39-36
lead on two free throws by center Alex Len with 9:17 left. Warren
had 10 points off the bench in the quarter.
But the starters came back and Cleveland reasserted control, with
three-pointers by Love, Smith and guard Matthew Dellavedova as part
of a 13-1 run that gave the Cavs a 58-49 lead with two minutes left.
Love led all scorers with 13 points at the half and Irving added 11.
James had eight points and five assists and Cleveland led 60-54.
Cleveland pushed its lead to 11 points early in the third quarter on
a 21-foot jumper by James before the Suns reeled off a 15-6 run and
then got as close as 74-73 on a dunk by forward Mirza Teletovic with
4:36 to go.
Again, the Suns could not get over the hump.
Cleveland closed with seven straight points capped by a layup and
two free throws by Irving and led 81-73 after three quarters.
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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