A win is still a win and for the Phoenix Suns with the season they've had so far it's probably not fair to complain about the way they got their fourth-straight victory. But playing against a skeleton-thin Cleveland Cavaliers team and building a 17-point lead only to see it slip away with a poor fourth quarter was not the kind of play that makes one excited about this team's long-term chances.
The Suns certainly can't blame their two stars who did their part leading the way on both ends of the floor. Grant Hill continues to put his 38-year-old body in harm's way on a nightly basis and added 27 points and 12 rebounds in 41 minutes of excellent play. Steve Nash did his thing with big shots and yet another 15 point, 15 assist game.
Unfortunately, other than Channing Frye (18 points), no other Suns player stepped up and followed the lead. Especially disappointing was Vince Carter who scored 29 points on Monday in New York only to flop in this game. Carter scored his only bucket -- a 3-point shot -- in the fourth quarter. He refused to drive the lane as evidenced by his zero free throws and instead settled for contested outside shots instead of blowing past the pressure defense he was facing.
The Cavaliers were led by Antwan Jamison's 23 points along with 16 points and 15 rebounds from J.J. Hickson. The Cavs didn't give up when they got down, perhaps understanding that if any team would let them back in the game it would be the Suns.
Sure enough, five Suns turnovers helped fuel an 11-3 run in the first six minutes of the final period. The Cavs simply ran out of talent to steal the game but they managed to turn what should have been an easy and rest-filled victory for the Suns' starters into yet another game that Steve Nash and Grant Hill had to carry on their shoulders. It's simply too much to ask of those guys on a nightly basis and the Suns are going to pay the price for it at some point.
The Suns improve to 19-21 and take their season-best, four-game winning streak into our nation's capital to face the Washington Wizards on Friday night for the third game of a five-game road trip.