Monday, December 5, 2022
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Preview: Phoenix Suns (14-3) at Cleveland Cavaliers (9-9)

The Phoenix Suns will aim to remain scorching-hot on Wednesday night when they visit the ice-cold Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Suns extended their win streak to 13 games in Monday’s opener of a four-game road trip, courtesy of a 115-111 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Phoenix can match the third-longest win streak in franchise history with a victory on Wednesday. The Suns are four wins shy of equaling their franchise record of 17 consecutive victories, set in the 2006-07 season.

Devin Booker highlighted his 23-point performance against the Spurs with a 3-pointer to cap his team’s pivotal 10-0 run in the fourth quarter. He cemented the win by sinking a free throw with 9.3 seconds left after gaining possession following a lost jump ball situation.

DeAndre Ayton collected 21 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth double-double in his past eight games.

“Last year, we knew (how) it feels to get happy on the farm and celebrate today. But we’re not working for today, we’re working for where the big stage is at,” Ayton said.

“I’m glad we have a swag and mentality where we’re winning games just working on us. Not just trying to go out there and beat teams, we’re working on something way bigger than what the league is thinking. Especially for the long, long run.

“We know it’s a longer season, but it’s just us doing the right things and playing our type of game and us playing together.”

Cameron Payne added 20 points off the bench to lead six players in double figures for the Suns, who shot a blistering 51.1 percent from the floor.

“I really don’t think about nothing, it’s really just a number,” Payne said of the win streak. “Honestly, we just went 1-0 today.”

The Cavaliers, in turn, went 0-1 on Monday to see their season-high losing skid extend to four games. They lost a pair of contests to the Brooklyn Nets during that streak, including a 117-112 decision on Monday.

Darius Garland scored 24 points, however he was absent for an extended period after absorbing an accidental elbow to the face from DeAndre’ Bembry in the third quarter. He made just 1 of 10 shots in the fourth quarter.

“That’s our leader out there,” Jarrett Allen said of Garland, who averages a team-best 18.2 points, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. “He’s out there giving it his all, all the time.

“He’s out there telling us where to be and what to do. He’s also a brother of ours and just seeing him go down, we didn’t really know what happened honestly. We’re all shook about that and have him in the back of our minds. We just kind of got scrambled up.”

Lauri Markkanen collected 22 points and eight rebounds in his return from a nine-game absence due to COVID-19. Allen added 20 and 15, respectively, in his return from a three-game absence due to a cold.

“I thought they both came back and were extremely impactful,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

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