The Phoenix Suns came out flat, cold, and disjointed to start the game, while the Cleveland Cavaliers came out hot and energetic. As one would imagine, this was a recipe for disaster as the Cavs quickly reeled off a 22-4 lead after only six minutes into the first quarter, eventually falling behind by as many as 26 points.
Alvin Gentry called multiple time outs before finally going to his bench early to see if they would respond better than the starters. And while the Suns were able to at least stop the bleeding, the Cavs still got off to a 37-16 lead to end the first quarter.
Things got better for the Suns in the second quarter, mostly behind the aggressive play of Goran Dragic, Sebastian Telfair, and Shannon Brown; as well as some improved defensive rotations by the Suns that helped to slow down the smoking hot Cavs. The Suns actually outscored the Cavs in the second quarter and were able to shrink the lead down to 13 to make it 62-49 at the half.
The Suns started the 3rd quarter on a run and cut the lead down to as little as five at one point thanks to the hustle of Goran Dragic who already had 21 points midway through the quarter, but the Cavs answered back as the Suns started going cold from the field once again, and Cleveland was able to re-extend their lead to seven at the end of the third quarter up 83-76.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Shannon Brown and PJ Tucker once again showed that while they may not be starters, they are both very good closers. Sebastian Telfair and PJ Tucker played very good defense disrupting the Cavaliers and forcing them into bad shots and decisions, while Brown hustled in for a lay-up, hit a jumper, and then another quick layup to eventually give the Suns their first lead of the night.
Then Dion Waiters happened.
Waiters hit two three-point shots and another nice contested jumper down the stretch to regain the lead for the Cavaliers back up by four.
But just when it looked like the Suns had flamed out, they fought back with a total team effort from the closing five of Dragic, Brown, Beasley, Tucker, and Gortat and were able to out last the Cavaliers showing hustle and energy on both ends of the court to close out the game 107-105.
The Suns were led by Goran Dragic's 26 points and 4 assists, and Marcin Gor-SWAT's 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 steals; as well as the big time contribution of Shannon Brown off the bench scoring 22 points in his 26 minutes of play.
The Cavaliers were led by rookie sensation Dion Waiters and his 23 points, Anderson Varejao's 14 points and 10 rebounds, as well as Daniel Gibson's 19 points off the bench.
Once again, the Suns gave their fans a heart attack with the photo finish at the end, but you have to appreciate the no-quit attitude and fight in this team, and it eventually paid off for them once again.
As I'm sure Alvin Gentry will say shortly in his post game press conference, a win is a win...we'll take it.
|Final - 11.9.2012||1||2||3||4||Total|
The Suns fought back from a 26-point deficit to pull off a much needed win at home. Phoenix is now sitting comfortably at .500 on the young season.
When: Tonight 7:00PM MST/ 9:00PM EST
Where: US Airways Center Phoenix, AZ
Watch: FSNAZ (Locally), NBA League Pass
Tonight, the 2-3 Phoenix Suns will take on the 2-3 Cleveland Cavaliers at home in the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. After a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic, an expected loss to the Miami Heat, and just barely holding on to win against the Charlotte Bobcats all during their first road trip of the season, the Suns need to regroup at home and pull out a win against a very beatable Cavs team.
The Suns' starting unit has been fairly consistent overall. However, the second unit has been mostly a disappointment thus far. However, Shannon Brown sprung to life against Charlotte and may prove to be just what the Suns need...a go-to scorer off the bench. But will Brown be able to do this consistently?
The Cavaliers will be anchored by the trio of PG Kyrie Irving, PF/C Tristan Thompson, and rookie sensation SG Dion Waiters, along with SF Alonzo Gee and PF Samardo Samuels making up the starting five. This is assuming that Anderson Varejao, who suffered a bruised knee against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night will not play.
In fact, the Cavs will likely be without both of their centers tonight. Both Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller were injured on Monday night against the Golden State Warriors, and neither played Wednesday night. Zeller will remain out for tonight's game with concussion symptoms, and it's doubtful Varejao will be ready to play tonight either.
Marcin Gortat vs. Tristan Thompson: If Varejao is a no go for tonight, the Cavs will likely start Tristan Thompson in his place like they did against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. Although Thompson played very well at the position against the Warriors, registering 11 points and 10 rebounds, Gortat...or should I say Gor-blocka is playing at a different level right now, and should provide a very favorable mismatch for the Suns in this case. The Polish Eraser is averaging a league high 4.2 blocks per game to go along with his 15 point, 11 rebound averages. The Suns should win this match-up handily.
Jared Dudley/Shannon Brown vs. Dion Waiters: Dudley has been in somewhat of a shooting slump lately, and with the way Shannon Brown played against Charlotte Wednesday night, reeling off six straight 3-pointers during crunch time in the fourth quarter, it makes one wonder if Alvin Gentry may opt to give Brown a few more minutes with the starters as well. Either way, whoever ends up having to match up against rookie SG Dion Waiters will have their work cut out for them. Waiters is averaging 15 points per game, and scored 28 points against the LA Clippers on Monday.
Goran Dragic vs. Kyrie Irving: This should be the marquee match-up of the night in my opinion. Kyrie Irving has been everything the Cavs had hoped he would be when they selected him with the first pick in the 2011 draft. Irving is averaging 24 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds per game, and is dangerous from anywhere on the court. However, the Suns have a pretty good point guard of their own. While Dragic's stats aren't quite as impressive as Irving's, the Dragon's 14 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds per game is nothing to sneeze at, and he is a better defender than Irving. This should be an interesting match-up to keep an eye on tonight. If Dragic can keep Irving in check, the Suns should win this game handily.
Michael Beasley vs. Alonzo Gee: The Suns' reported interest in signing Alonzo Gee last off-season may have been a diversion, or a possibility that was passed over in favor of other options. Either way, it seems the Suns made the right decision, at least so far, in choosing both Shannon Brown and Michael Beasley as their free agent wings. Shannon Brown was given most of the credit for winning Wednesday night's game against the Bobcats, but Michael Beasley had his best game as a Phoenix Sun registering 21 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 blocks. Beasley has impressed with his progress as not only a scorer, but a play maker as well. Alonzo Gee is a fairly good defender, but either way you slice it, this should be a very favorable match-up for the Suns to take advantage of tonight.
This is a game the Suns should win, and they need to stay focused enough to do so. The Cavaliers are down two very talented big men, and the Suns' center has been one of the best in the NBA thus far; there's no reason they shouldn't dominate in the paint and on the glass.
If the Suns want to prove they are better than a bottom rung team which most analysts believe they are, they must start by winning games like this one at home. The Suns just need to get a win tonight...anyway they can.
Brown's firing creates a very intriguing coaching opportunity as many prospective coaches will be infatuated with the proposition of coaching the Lakers star studded cast. Phil Jackson and Mike D'Antoni headline the list of potential candidates that is also rumored to include Brian Shaw.
Brown faced tremendous scrutiny and was given little leeway due to the expectations headed into the season coupled with an embarrassing preseason and start to the regular season. Dwight Howard missed a portion of the preseason and Steve Nash has missed games recently due to a small fracture in his left leg (but is expected to return soon), hindering Brown's ability to build cohesion with the new additions.
The lack of chemistry and continuity has been unsettling for Laker fans, as the frustration has been not only about losing, but how the Lakers have been losing. It hasn't been pretty. Part of the underwhelming performance has been blamed on Brown's insistence on implementing a Princeton offense, which many pundits believe is not suited for the Lakers compilation of talent.
Check out Silver Screen and Roll for reaction from the Laker community in response to the breaking news.