Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Larry Hughes, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Suns: Steve Nash, Raja Bell, Grant Hill, Shawn Marion and Boris Diaw
Refs Dan Crawford, Rodney Mott and Eli Roe. Crawford is one of the best in the NBA, no relation of any sort to Joey.
--Amare Stoudemire was a late scratch with knee pain, Diaw will play in his place. With the Cavs without Donyell Marshall (wrist) both teams will play small a lot. There will be mismatches, there is a recipe for the Cavs to be able to dominate on the boards. --It is always a test of wills when playing the Suns. They want you to run with them and to a degree you can't help it, but you have to try to keep yourself from playing their game non-stop. In the past, the Cavs have taken the bait and been blown out. --Expect to see Sasha Pavlovic get his first playing time tonight. He's looked good in limited practice but he's fighting all sorts of conditioning issues. He's been flying all over the world, he's been in nine time zones in five days and he's not in game shape. Don't expect great things right away. --Those of us in Phoenix didn't get an extra hour of sleep overnight. They don't do daylight savings time in Arizona so the clocks stayed the same.
Halftime -- Cavs 45, Suns 38
--All things considered, the Cavs have played extremely well. LeBron James is just 3-of-12 shooting and the Cavs have hit just 40 percent of their shots yet they are ahead. --A huge stat is that the Suns only have six fastbreak points, which is a unreal number for them. They are not making shots and are not in sync you can tell, but the Cavs have hustled on defense and shown pretty good focus. --The rebounds differential is massive, Cavs have a 35-17 edge and a 12-1 edge in second-chance points. You have to figure the Suns will Heat up, so the Cavs will have to continue this to stay in front. Zydrunas Ilgauskas has five offensive rebounds and 14 points. There is no one to defend him on the Suns, but he's played a like of minutes...20. We'll see if he wears down. --Ira Newble's looks very fresh and his jumping like he hasn't since before his knee and foot injuries four years ago. He has six rebounds and two putback baskets in the first half alone. --You have to figure the Suns have a huge run in them, the Cavs will need LeBron to get hot to win this game.
Postgame -- Suns 103, Cavs 92
--The halftime ceremony to honor Jerry Colangelo was almost 30 minutes long, which no doubt affected the Cavs at the start of the second half. There was a really cool montage as this jazz musician played a long version of My Way and Colangelo's speech was emotional but everything else could've been cut. That includes Kevin Johnson, who mocked Cleveland just for fun, and Dan Majerle, who told a five minute story that was pretty lame. LeBron said it messed with the team but it is no excuse, which is the proper attitude because the Suns had to sit through it too, but it changed momentum without a doubt. --The Cavs got very passive on offense early in the second half when they lost their lead. Guys were passing up wide open shots. That's not how you play against the Suns. You can't shoot too fast, though, and they didn't manage the offense well. --The Suns don't foul a lot, but it's still a little hard to believe LeBron couldn't have gotten more than two free throw attempts. He needed 26 shots for his 27 points, that's not effective. Overall, the offense wasn't effective in the half court and on most nights right now, it just isn't going to be. Been ringing that bells for years now. --Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas both looked a little tired at the end, they Suns were beating them to rebounds. They combined for 18 rebounds in the first half, just nine in the second. Mike Brown only played eight men, Devin Brown and Dwayne Jones didn't play. It was likely a matchup issue, but the matchups will be roughly the same Tuesday at Golden State. --The Cavs gave up 65 points and 54 percent shooting in the second half. Steve Nash was amazing with his floating jumpers in the lane, that is a shot that really can't be stopped because the opposition is trying so hard to keep him in front of them. Still, it is impossible to win any game giving up those numbers. The Cavs didn't help themselves with 11 turnovers in each half. --LeBron's shooting work is paying off thus far. He missed a lot of contested shots tonight and didn't have fouls to show for it. But he's 6-of-12 so far on 3-pointers. --Larry Hughes banged left knees with Leandro Barbosa in the first half and was limping a little in the second half. His right knee is already bothering him and he's giving it extra treatment. He also ices his foot from the injury in last year's playoffs and his chest, which he hurt against the Mavericks. He's already banged up. "Maybe someday my luck with change," Hughes said to me afterward wrapped in about 10 pounds of ice. "But not so far." --Hughes is 9-of-33 shooting for the season. Last year the phrase was that with Hughes "all roads lead to 40 percent." May have to adjust that this season.
Quotes: --Mike Brown: "We have to be the aggressors on offense, especially with the guys we have." --LeBron James: "I thought we played well at times, we just need to be more consistent." --Drew Gooden: "A couple of times I had to stop and catch my breath."
Catch you all from the Bay Area as the tour rolls on...