Cavs dominate Suns in the fourth to get road win

The Cavs(26-15) continued their five-game road trip in Phoenix against the Suns on Sunday night. After resting in the team’s loss to the Nuggets on Friday night, Cleveland got back their leading scorer Donovan Mitchell. 

Fortunately for the Cavs, the Suns(20-21) were without their starting backcourt of Chris Paul(hip) and Devin Booker(groin), and ultimately, Cleveland led by as many as 22 points and defeated Phoenix 112-98 at Footprint Center.

With the win, the Cavs, who beat the Suns 90-88 last week at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, swept the season-series.

Cleveland has won four out of their last five, while the Suns have lost six straight.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Suns.

Great:

Starting Backcourt: Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland had 22 points apiece. Garland added seven assists. Mitchell and Garland combined for 44 points, and they were reunited, and it felt so good.

Jarrett Allen had his team-leading 15th double-double on Sunday with 13 points, a game-high 12 rebounds, and a season-high five assists. 

Shooting: Cleveland shot 57% from the field against the Suns. Cleveland made 11 threes on Sunday night, but most of their damage came in the paint, as the Cavs had 52 points in the paint.

According to Cavs Notes, this is their highest field goal percentage in any road game since 2015.

Fourth Quarter: The Cavs took an 80-79 lead into the fourth, and they took over from there. Cleveland went on a 23-4 run to take a 103-83 lead with just under four minutes to go. The Cavs shot 66% from the field in the fourth, outscored the Suns 32-19 in the quarter, and a close game became a rout!

Not So Great:

After that fourth quarter for the Cavs, there are no complaints. Turnovers(14) were a little high, but hey, they won.

Bottom Line:

In the NBA, when you have an opportunity to defeat a team that is down, you have to get the job done, and that’s what the Cavs did on Sunday night. They took advantage of a depleted Suns team. 

The Cavs have reached the halfway point of their schedule, and after 41 games, here are a few things we know about this team:

-Donovan Mitchell is the real deal

-The Cavs are an outstanding home team(18-4) 

-The Cavs are a mediocre road team(8-11)

-Cleveland is a great defensive team(the number one-rated defensive team in NBA)

-They are legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference and could make a deep playoff run

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads to Utah to battle the Jazz on Tuesday night as Mitchell faces off against his former team.

Best of the Rest:

Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro had 14 points apiece, and Caris LeVert had 13 points off the bench. Cleveland had six players in double figures, including all five starters.

For the Suns, Duane Washington Jr. led the Suns with 25 points off the bench, and Deandre Ayton had a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists.

Booker to miss at least four weeks with groin strain

The Phoenix Suns will be without their leading scorer for at least a month. 

On Wednesday, the Suns announced that Devin Booker had sustained a left groin strain. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks, according to the team.

Booker had recently missed six games due to hamstring and groin injuries and played only four minutes against the Nuggets on Christmas Day before being forced to leave.

The 26-year-old guard is averaging a career-high 27.1 points per contest in 29 games this season. Without Booker, reserve guard Landry Shamet will probably be the starter.

Phoenix(20-15) continues their six-game road trip in Washington against the Wizards on Wednesday night.

Former NBA player, coach Paul Silas dies at 79

Former NBA player and coach Paul Silas has died, his family announced Sunday.

He was 79.

As a player, Silas, who played 16 seasons in the NBA, won three NBA titles(two with the Celtics, one with the Sonics) and was a two-time All-Star.

During his playing career, Silas spent time with the Hawks, Suns, Celtics, Nuggets, and Sonics.

As a head coach, he started with the Clippers(1980-83) before waiting 16 years to become a head coach again, this time with the Charlotte Hornets(1999-2003). After Charlotte, he became the head coach in Cleveland(2003-05) and was LeBron James’ first coach. He would return to Charlotte to coach the team in 2010 and be there until 2012.

In total, Silas spent 12 seasons as an NBA head coach

Currently, Silas’ son, Stephen, is the head coach of the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets released this statement on the passing of Silas: “The Fertitta Family and the Rockets organization are deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Silas, father of Rockets head coach Stephen Silas. Our heartfelt thoughts are with Stephen and his family during this difficult time.”

The Cavs released the following statement on the death of Silas: “Paul Silas served as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2003-05,” the Cavs wrote in a statement on S. “His engaging presence and huge personality inspired legions of NBA players and coaches. We send our deepest condolences to the Silas family and everyone that loved him. Rest in power Coach!”

The Suns released a statement on the death of Silas: “The Phoenix Suns are saddened by the passing of Paul Silas, a beloved basketball figure and former player and assistant coach with the team,” the team said in a statement. “The first Suns center to be named an NBA All-Star and the first All-Defensive selection in franchise history, Paul still holds the Suns’ record for rebounds in a single season. Respected by all those who encountered him throughout the NBA, we are grateful for his contributions to the game across a lifetime in basketball. Our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Luka Doncic believes Mavs have a great team

After struggling with consistency in the first 21 games, the Dallas Mavericks(12-11) may have found something in these last two games, including Monday night’s 130-111 win over the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns(16-8) at American Airlines Center.

Dallas has been lethal from downtown in the past two games. The Mavs have hit 20-plus threes in wins over the Knicks and Suns. 

The Mavericks have been dominant at home, as they are 10-3 at American Airlines Center, but away from home has been the problem. Dallas is 2-8 on the road. 

Despite the road struggles, Mavs head coach Jason Kidd says the team is starting to catch its groove.

“We’re making shots; we’re getting the same shots that we hadn’t gotten early this season,” Kidd said after the win. “Guys are taking them; Luka [Doncic] is creating a lot of those. Spencer [Dinwiddie] is being aggressive; he made free throws this evening. But, when you almost shoot 50 from the three, and you’re getting over 40 of those, that puts you in a good seat. Defensively, these guys are connected, and we’re finishing plays, majority of the time, by getting the rebound.”

Luka Doncic, who had 33 points, six rebounds, and eight assists in only 29 minutes against the Suns, believes the Mavs are a great team.

“They’re one of the best in the league,” Doncic said about Dallas. “They have a great team, great players. I think it showed we can play when we guard, when we defend, it showed that we can play.”

The Mavs have talent, for sure. Great team? Not yet. They have to win more consistently on the road. Plus, you’re not going to make 20-plus threes in every game you play, but to this team’s credit, they are one of the better defensive teams in basketball, so there’s hope.  

Dallas hopes to win their third straight and second consecutive game on the road as they face the Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Suns’ Booker named Western Conference Player of the Month, Williams named Western Conference Coach of the Month

After guiding the Suns to a Western Conference-best 15-6 record to begin the season, Suns head coach Monty Williams and guard Devin Booker were both shown some love from the NBA.

Williams was named Western Conference Coach of the Month, and Booker has been named Western Conference Player of the Month for October/November, the league announced Thursday.

With Williams at the helm, the Suns currently sit atop the Western Conference standings and are now riding an NBA-best six-game win streak while holding a league-best 12-1 record at home. 

This marks Williams’ fifth time winning Western Conference Coach of the Month and the fourth time with the Suns.

Booker is getting it done!

In Wednesday’s win over Chicago, Booker added six assists and four rebounds to his 51 points while shooting 20-of-25 from the field. His 51 points were the most ever scored by a Suns player inside Footprint Center. In addition, he joined James Harden (Nov. 5, 2017) as the only players over the last 25 years with 50 points on 80 percent shooting or better through the first three-quarters of a game.

Booker is averaging a career-best 29.0 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.3 rebounds over the first 21 games of the season while shooting 48.9 percent from the field, 37.8 percent from three-point range.

The three-time All-Star has notched three double-doubles so far this season and is coming off a season-high 51-point performance on Nov. 30 against the Bulls. 

The performance came two days after Booker tallied 44 points, eight rebounds, and six steals, which matched his career high, in a win at Sacramento earlier in the week. Booker averaged 47.5 points between the two games on 69.8 FG%, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 3.5 steals.

This marks Booker’s second-career Western Conference Player of the Month honor.

Suns promote Jones to GM and President of Basketball Operations

The Phoenix Suns announced the promotion of James Jones to President of Basketball Operations and General Manager, the team announced Monday.

In January, the Suns gave Jones an extension, and now they are giving him a promotion.

Jones was originally named the Suns’ general manager in 2019 after rejoining the franchise as vice president of basketball operations in 2017.

“I am grateful for the privilege to work with and support the players, staff and employees of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury,” Jones said via a press release. “The collective efforts of our business and basketball operations have allowed us to provide an amazing atmosphere and best-in-class experience for our fans and community.  I remain excited about and dedicated to driving success for our Teams on and off the court.”

In one of Jones’ first moves as general manager, he hired Monty Williams as head coach; the Suns jumped from 19 wins to 34 in Jones and Williams’ first season together in 2019-20, then to 51 wins the following season and 64 victories a season ago that earned Williams NBA Coach of the Year honors.

Jones and his staff in their first three seasons include an undefeated NBA Bubble run (2020), consecutive playoff berths after a 10-year drought (2020-21, 2021-22), back-to-back Pacific Division titles (2020-21, 2021-22), a single-season franchise-record 64 regular season wins (2021-22), a franchise-record 18-game win streak (2021-22), a Western Conference title (2020-21), and the league’s best record since the start of the 2020-21 season.  Jones was honored as NBA Executive of the Year in 2021.

 “In the nearly 15 years I have known James, he has excelled in every role he performed, from player to NBPA Treasurer to his roles in our front office, most recently as general manager,” Suns Interim Governor Sam Garvin said. “James has the unique ability to create and lead high-performing teams in basketball operations and his commitment to collaborating with our business side, including at the C-level with partners like PayPal and Verizon, is second to none.  We are fortunate for his contributions across the organization and this promotion recognizes his commitment to excellence.”

Currently, the Suns(13-6) have the best record in the Western Conference.

Suns’ Crowder will not be with team during training camp, expected to be traded

The Phoenix Suns and forward Jae Crowder have mutually agreed that he will not be with the club for training camp, the team announced Sunday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the two sides will work on a trade.

Last season, Crowder, whose role was expected to change with Cam Johnson being inserted in the starting lineup, started 67 games for the Suns and averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

The 32-year-old is scheduled to make $10.1 million in the final year of his contract and has helped Phoenix have a lot of success during his two seasons with the team, including a vital role on the team that made the NBA Finals in the 2020-21 season. 

Crowder can help a team and is a winning player. The 10-year veteran has been to the Finals in two of the last three seasons(Heat, Suns).

Robert Sarver plans to sell Suns/Mercury

Phoenix Suns/Mercury owner Robert Sarver will sell the teams, he announced in a statement on Wednesday.

The 60-year-old has decided it’s in the best interest to sell the Suns and Mercury(WNBA) after the league suspended him for one year and fined him $10 million following the findings of an independent investigation of Sarver, which concluded he used the N-word on five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees. 

In addition, the report stated that Sarver engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees, including yelling and cursing at them.

In his statement, Sarver felt today’s society would not allow him to make amends for his past actions.

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Sarver said in his statement. “I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.

“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes it is best for Sarver to sell the team and said the following in a statement discussing Sarver’s decision.

“I fully support the decision by Robert Sarver to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,” Silver said. “This is the right next step for the organization and community.”

The entity that owns the Suns, Suns Legacy Partners, LLC, also agrees with Sarver’s choice to sell the team.

“We agree that Robert Sarver’s decision to sell the Suns and Mercury is in the best interest of the organization and community,” the statement read.

“We also know that today’s news does not change the work that remains in front of us to create, maintain and protect a best-in-class experience for our staff, players, fans, partners, and community.

“As we’ve shared with our employees, we acknowledge the courage of the people who came forward in this process to tell their stories and apologize to those hurt.

“We are on a journey that began before last November, one that has included changes to leadership, staff, and accountability measures. While we are proud of our progress and the culture of respect and integrity we are building, we know there remains work to do and relationships to rebuild. We are committed to doing so for our staff, players, fans, partners, and this community.”

Pistons, Suns, Mavs announce preseason schedules

The NBA season is almost upon us, but before we get to the regular season, teams must prepare during training camp and preseason.

The Mavericks, Pistons, and Suns announced their preseason schedules on Thursday.

The NBA regular season begins on October 18.

Dallas Mavericks:

The Dallas Mavericks  preseason schedule tips off on October 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the BOK Center.

Following their matchup with the Thunder, the Mavericks will host No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Center on Friday, Oct. 7, at 7:30 p.m. CT. Dallas will then conclude its exhibition season with a playoff rematch against the Jazz in Utah on Friday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. CT.

2022 DALLAS MAVERICKS PRESEASON SCHEDULE:

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME (CT)

LOCATION

VENUE

TV

Wed. Oct. 5

@ Oklahoma City

7:00 p.m.

Tulsa, OK

BOK Center

Mavs.com

Fri. Oct. 7

vs. Orlando

7:30 p.m.

Dallas

American Airlines Center

BSSW

Fri., Oct. 14

@ Utah

8:00 p.m.

Salt Lake City

Vivint Arena

BSSW

Detroit Pistons:

The Detroit Pistons preseason schedule features two home and two away games. Detroit will host the Oklahoma City Thunder (10/11) and the Memphis Grizzlies (10/13).

The Pistons will first travel to New York (10/4) to take on the Knicks and then to New Orleans (10/7) to face the Pelicans before returning to Detroit for the home slate. The Knicks game will be televised nationally on TNT.

Phoenix Suns:

The Phoenix Suns will play a four-game preseason schedule in preparation for the 2022-23 regular season, playing two home games at Footprint Center and two road games.

The Suns’ full 2022 preseason schedule is listed below.

DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME (PT)

Sun., Oct. 2

Adelaide 36ers (NBL)

Footprint Center, Phoenix

7:00 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 5

Los Angeles Lakers

T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

7:00 p.m.

Mon., Oct. 10

Denver Nuggets

Ball Arena, Denver

6:00 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 12

Sacramento Kings

Footprint Center, Phoenix

7:00 p.m.

 

Suns sign Ish Wainright to two-way contract

The Phoenix Suns re-signed forward Ish Wainright, the team announced Thursday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, it’s a two-way NBA contract.

The Suns initially signed Wainright in October, and he made his NBA debut in November. He played the previous three seasons internationally in Germany and France.

Wainright, 27, played in 45 regular season games for the Suns last season, averaging 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per game. Over his final two games of the season, the 6-5 guard totaled a combined 35 points on 14-of-29 from the field and 7-of-16 from three-point range, plus 11 rebounds, seven steals, and four assists.

Most recently, Wainright averaged 11.0 points on 42.1% from the field and 41.4% from three-point range, plus 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in five games for the Suns at the 2022 NBA Summer League last month in Las Vegas. He also represented Uganda at the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers in July, averaging team highs of 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists.

Phoenix recently signed Duane Washington Jr. to a two-way contract, and with the addition of Wainright, they have reached the maximum of amount of two-way players(two).