Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/27/12
CLEVELAND -- The Phoenix Suns, in the midst of their longest road trip of the season, stumbled Sunday in Philadelphia, but they rebounded in a big way Tuesday. The Suns rolled to a 91-78 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers before 13,687 at Quicken Loans Arena. "It was a grind-it-out kind of game," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "These guys (the Cavaliers) have played four games in five nights. Obviously, they were very tired, and we wanted to try to push the tempo." That big push came at the end of the third quarter, which Phoenix closed with 14 unanswered points. The Suns (7-8) aren't known as a good defensive team. They came into the game last in the NBA in points allowed and 28th in opponents' field-goal percentage. The Cavs matched their season low in points and field-goal percentage (.357). Phoenix's 104-101 defeat against the 76ers on Sunday kicked off a six-game trip. Cleveland (3-12) lost its fourth game in a row. After staying close in road losses at Orlando, Miami and Memphis in their previous three games, the Cavaliers returned home and were no match for the Suns. "That's the most frustrating part," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "You look at Memphis as being one of the most physical teams in the league. No disrespect to the Suns, but I don't look at them as a physical team. But tonight, they looked like one." The Suns couldn't handle Cavs center Anderson Varejao, who finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds. "I'll make this a real quick statement," Scott said. "Anderson Varejao was fantastic. Everyone else sucked tonight. Anything else you want to know?" The Cavs fell to 1-10 in their past 11 games. Varejao produced 14 points in the third quarter, but the Suns still outscored Cleveland 34-27 in the period. Phoenix led 71-59 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Suns were never seriously threatened again. The Suns had four players reach double figures, led by point guard Goran Dragic, who finished with 19 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Forward Michael Beasley added 15 points, and forward Luis Scola came off the bench to score 14 points. "For them to beat you, they have to outrebound you, out-hustle you and beat you from the 3-point line," Suns swingman Jared Dudley said. "We wanted to take away the 3. The turning point was us creating turnovers." Cavs rookie guard Dion Waiters contributed 16 points, three rebounds and seven assists. He shot just 7-for-20 from the field. Waiters' starting backcourt mate, point guard Jeremy Pargo, shot 3-for-12 and scored eight points. The duo combined to dish out 12 assists. In addition to their poor shooting, the Cavs committed 19 turnovers, which led to the lopsided loss. Scott found out right before the national anthem that guard Daniel Gibson wouldn't play due to a sore right elbow. "It hurts us on both ends," Scott said. "He's been our best guy off the bench. Those are things you count on. It just hurts when he's not out there." Waiters suffered a bruised left hand in the second quarter and returned after getting an X-ray at halftime. Both Waiters and Gibson will have followup MRI exams Wednesday morning. "It's a little numb," Waiters said of his left hand. "We'll find out (how it is) tomorrow." Despite ice-cold shooting in the first half, the Cavs trailed just 37-32 at the break. They shot just 27.3 percent from the field. The Suns shot 48.6 percent for the game, with Beasley making six of eight shots. "I thought we did a good job of moving the basketball and a great job of finding the mismatches," Gentry said. NOTES: Scott holds Varejao in high regard. "To me, he's the best center in the NBA," Scott said. "He's by far the best in the Eastern Conference. Coaches and players are starting to recognize how well he's playing." Varejao is averaging 14.5 points, a league-high 14.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists. ... The Cavs led 72 percent of time on their recently completed three-game trip. However, they lost all three games by a combined 12 points. "It would have been more impressive if we had gotten two wins out of the deal," Scott said. The Cavs held double-digit leads in all three games and led at the start of the fourth quarter each time.
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