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Cavaliers’ balanced attack sends Suns below .500 for first time

Jan 8, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) during the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland each scored 22 points to lift the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers to a 112-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.

Mitchell made 8 of 17 shots from the floor and Garland 7 of 12 despite entering the game with a questionable tag due to a right thumb sprain.

Evan Mobley collected 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Jarrett Allen added 13, 12 and five, respectively, for the Cavaliers, who shot a robust 57.7 percent from the floor (45 of 78) en route to defeating the Suns for the second time in five days. Cleveland recorded a 90-88 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Isaac Okoro drained four 3-pointers to highlight his 14-point performance and Caris LeVert added 13 points off the bench as the Cavaliers benefited from outscoring the Suns by a 32-19 margin in the fourth quarter.

Phoenix’s Duane Washington Jr. highlighted his 25-point performance by sinking five 3-pointers. Mikal Bridges scored 15 points and Deandre Ayton added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the short-handed Suns, who have lost a season-high six in a row and fell below .500 for the first time in 2022-23.

Phoenix kept within earshot by sinking 14 3-pointers, but it also committed 16 turnovers that led to its undoing.

Chris Paul (right hip soreness) joined Devin Booker (groin strain), Cam Johnson (knee) and Cameron Payne (foot) in sitting out Sunday’s game for the Suns.

Cleveland held an 80-79 lead after three quarters before starting the fourth with a flourish. Garland, Raul Neto and LeVert each drained a 3-pointer to highlight a 27-6 to start the quarter. Phoenix made a modest push, but it was far too late at that point.

The Cavaliers held a 51-38 lead with 5:26 to play in the second quarter before Washington converted a four-point play to highlight a 16-6 run by Phoenix to finish the half. Washington added two 3-pointers and a driving layup during the surge.

–Field Level Media