It took all the talent the Phoenix Suns can muster these days to get a much-needed home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Suns played flat and uninspired basketball for most of the game, but the short-handed Cavs weren't good enough to capitalize as most other teams would. The Suns finished with a strong defensive fourth quarter to secure the 108-100 victory. A win is better than a loss here, but there's not a lot to be excited about, either.
"We just needed to get a win. I don't care who it was against, Lakers, Clippers -- we'll take this win," Jared Dudley said, echoing the prevailing locker room theme.
Phoenix was led by Steve Nash's 20 points and 17 assists and got balanced offense, with four other players scoring over 15 points. Robin Lopez played one of his stronger games in recent memory with 15 points and six rebounds of his own. Channing Frye led the Suns with 12 rebounds against the undersized Cleveland front line.
The Suns held the Cavs to just 36.8 percent shooting, but gave up 20 turnovers, which kept the game close. Cleveland was led by a career-high 27 points from Manny Harris.
Before the game Coach Alvin Gentry said that he would look to find a more consistent lineup and rotations and stated that he felt his team couldn't play a 10-man rotation. However, ten guys did play in this game for the Suns with Hakim Warrick being the surprise entrant into the game after getting cut from the rotation in previous contests.
Gentry said he went back and looked at all the games and the ones that went well included strong performances from Warrick. "We've got to get him back in the rotation," Coach said.
Steve Nash spoke about what Warrick can give the Suns when he's playing with energy.
"We don't have any fours (power forward) so if Hakim plays well it gives us a four. It gives our team balance," Nash said. With Warrick on the floor, the Suns can run a strong pick and roll which generates both free throws and open looks on the perimeter when the defense sucks in.
For Nash this this have been a frustrating season.
"Frustration's been mounting for about three months. It's hard, this is very difficult. Just trying to fight though it and stay positive every day is a challenge. Sometimes you have to take a step back to gain perspective but when you get out there, the fire burns and the frustration is there."
Grant Hill left the game in the first quarter with what was officially described as mild right knee sprain. Goran Dragic suffered a bone bruise to his knee after colliding with another player. His knee was swollen and sore after the game. No word yet on Hill's prognosis or availability for the upcoming games.
The Suns play in Denver on Tuesday and are back home against the Nets on Wednesday.