NBA

98
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Phoenix 28 23 21 26 98
Cleveland 23 32 22 34 111
111
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CTNaN:� , February 21, 2019
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio  Attendance: 19,022

Woeful Suns begin second half at Cavs

According to STATS
According to STATS

Phoenix Suns at Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. The Suns have lost 15 games in a row, tying the franchise record for most consecutive losses, originally set from March 2- April 1, 2018. Phoenix has allowed at least 110 points in all 15 losses, becoming the first team in NBA history to lose 15 games in a row and allow at least 110 points in each loss.
  2. The Cavaliers have been outscored by an average of 10.5 points per game this season, the worst mark in the league. Cleveland has an NBA-high 16 losses this season by at least 20 points -- the Cavaliers had just 16 combined losses by 20 or more points in the four seasons spanning from 2014-15 to 2017-18.
  3. Since December 1, Phoenix ranks second in the NBA in steals per game (9.65) and fifth in blocks per game (5.59). The only other team ranked in the top five in both categories over this time is the Celtics.
  4. Jordan Clarkson scored a career-high 42 points last time out in a 148-139 (3OT) loss against Brooklyn. It was the first time that a Cavalier scored at least 30 points in a game this season -- every other team in the NBA has had at least four 30-point performances from any player this season.
  5. Deandre Ayton is shooting 66.9 percent in the paint this season, the second-highest mark in the league behind Giannis Antetokounmpo (68.7 percent) (min. 400 FGA in paint). Ayton's 30 double-doubles are the most by a rookie pre-All-Star break since Karl-Anthony Towns also had 30 in 2015-16.
  6. The Cavaliers have won seven games in a row against the Suns dating back to March of 2015. Over those seven games, Cleveland has averaged 13.6 three-point makes at a 41.5 percent clip, while limiting Phoenix to 7.7 three-pointers made at 30.7 percent.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Two of the league's worst teams kick off the second half of the season on Thursday when the Phoenix Suns travel to the banks of Lake Erie to play Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Suns have lost 15 straight. Their last win came on Jan. 12 against the Denver Nuggets. The Cavs have been a little better, going 3-11 in their last 14 and 4-23 in their last 27.

NBA All-Star Weekend provided both teams a much-needed break. Suns coach Igor Kokosov described it as "an escape."

"We're all going to get to escape from each other," Kokoskov told the Arizona Republic after the Suns lost to the Los Angeles Clippers before the break. "I think we all need that escape emotionally from losing games, but we are who we are as a group. We belong here and if we want to change something, we have to do it as a group. Starting from each individual, understanding that we need to change."

At 11-48, Phoenix needs change pretty quickly to avoid the franchise's all-time worst season. With 23 games remaining, Phoenix needs to win six times to avoid that low mark of 16-66 set in the franchise's first season (1968-69). The Suns must win 10 games just to match last year's 21-61 mark.

The season has been just as disappointing for Cleveland.

The Cavaliers had faith they'd be competitive in the first year of the (latest) post-LeBron James era. Those aspirations were doomed after Kevin Love was injured.

"We had such high hopes for the beginning of the year," Love recently told the Cleveland Plain Dealer when discussing the October injury that sidelined him for 50 straight games.

Other key Cavs like Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr., David Nwaba and Cedi Osman have missed extended time.

Both teams will use the final two months of the season to assess some good, young talent.

Phoenix has two solid building blocks in Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker. Along with complementary players like T.J. Warren and Kelly Oubre Jr., the Suns just need to stay healthy and get some experience.

In 44 games this season, the 22-year-old Booker leads the team in scoring (24.6 points per game) and assists (6.7).

"We don't deserve an All-Star break," Booker said. "We need to work on our game."

Ayton, the first overall pick in the 2018 draft, has played in 53 games and is averaging 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Ayton is just 20 years old.

Warren is averaging 18 points per game, but also has been injured. Oubre, who was acquired in December in a trade with Washington, is averaging 14.1 points per game this season, including 15.4 in 28 games with the Suns.

Cleveland's youth movement has been forced on coach Larry Drew. A flurry of trades involving four veterans left the Cavs with a just-turned 20-year-old rookie point guard running the show.

Collin Sexton has had his ups and downs, but he is averaging 15.1 points, 2.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.

Jordan Clarkson has been one constant for Cleveland, leading the Cavs in scoring at 17.2 points per game off the bench.

One of the new Cavs acquired, along with a plethora of draft picks in those trades, is 22-year-old Marquese Chriss. Chriss (6-foot-10, 240 pounds) has made a good impression on his coach and teammates in just the few games he has played in Cleveland.

"He's a terrific athlete," Drew said. "With a body that size, he really plays above the rim and he's comfortable stepping out and shooting it at the three."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 21, 2019


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