Facing the Suns, the Cavs still pull off the perfect steal!
The first quarter was marked by the ugliness of both teams: 6/17 shooting for the Suns and 4/16 for the Cavs. The latter even started the match with 0/9. Result: this first action gave birth to a rather atypical small score in this era of big cards: 15-14 in favor of Cleveland.
Led by Chris Paul, the Suns started the second quarter well with an 18-7 run that allowed them to take a 10-point lead. Frankly, Cleveland has nothing. The proof: the Cavs are 0/14 on 3-pointers since the start of the game. Finally, the drought would end with an award-winning basket from Caris LeVert less than 4 minutes from the break, which was replicated on the next possession by Donovan Mitchell. The Suns did not panic and maintained this gap of 10 points allowing them to return to the locker room with a well-deserved advantage (43-33).
However, Cleveland returned from the locker room with other intentions. JB Bickerstaff’s men started the 3rd quarter with an 8-1 run. The Suns would react to the move by taking a 10-point lead. But the entry of Raul Neto would give new life to the Cavaliers who would completely get back into the match by reducing the gap to 2 points at the end of the 3rd quarter. Despite Chris Paul’s buzzer shot, Cleveland started the last quarter with only 5 points behind (64-59).
Caris LeVert scored 9 entry points in the 4th quarter to allow the Cavaliers to get back to a tie (70-70). Except Chris Paul was in great shape, and the Suns regained a 7-point lead. The end of the match boils with a 3-point address returning from the Cleveland side: Donovan Mitchell, Cedi Osman and Caris LeVert bring the Cavaliers back to parity (85-85). Hero of the week, Donovan Mitchell gives Cleveland the lead with an award-winning clutch basket with 40 seconds on the clock (88-85). Landry Shamet responded to him in long strides from a distance.
The final possession was in the hands of Mitchell who drove and served to Evan Mobley, the latter punishing up the middle to give the Cavaliers a 2 point lead with 4 seconds left. Mikal Bridges missed at the buzzer, and Cleveland downed Phoenix 90-88.
WHAT YOU SHOULD REMEMBER
– The “clutch time” of the Cavaliers. Cleveland was clumsy shooting most of the game, including an 0/14 3-pointer to start. But now, they put the baskets in when it matters the most, meaning at the end of the match. Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley missed most of their game but they still won Cleveland late in the game.
– Phoenix can’t take it anymore. Ever since Devin Booker got injured, nothing has been happening for the Suns. Even if a Cleveland team scored only 33 points in the first half, shooting only 39% overall, Phoenix could not win. But the Suns led the entire game before blowing away in the final seconds. The black streak continues: 12 losses in the last 16 games, including 7 of the last 8.
✅ Caris LeVert. He was the best player of the Cavaliers but he especially sounded the revolt from the beginning of the 4th quarter: 21 points on 7/11 shooting including a very good 5/7 from 3 points.
✅ Raúl Neto. He is the type of player you want to have on your team. He breathed momentum off the bench by stepping up offensively but also defensively: 14 points on 5/7 shooting.
✅ Chris Paul. The best player of the match while outshining his teammates: 25 points on 9/17 shooting including 3/5 from 3 points as well as 8 assists.
✅ Deandre Ayton. Very solid match, he was dominant on offense. He masters the opponent’s racket but he has two customers up front with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley: 15 points on 7/12 shooting and 18 rebounds!
⛔️ Global scoring. The game was marked by mediocre skill from both teams: 39% shooting for Cleveland and 39.5% for Phoenix.
Riders (25-14): trip to the Nuggets overnight from Friday to Saturday.
Suns (20-19): receiving Heat on Friday through Saturday nights.