PHOENIX: Kyrie Irving didn’t have any magic left in his tired legs and the Cavaliers blew a 26-point lead to lose to the Phoenix Suns 107-105 on Friday. The comeback was the third-largest in Suns history.
Irving had a shot to win it at the buzzer, but his 3-pointer was short off the front of the rim. Irving had 17 points and eight assists, but deferred through most of the fourth quarter to rookie Dion Waiters, who had a team-high 23 points and did his best to fend off the charging Suns.
Waiters scored 10 consecutive points during a two-minute stretch in the fourth quarter. Irving, still recovering from a recent bout of food poisoning, was forced back into the game sooner than coach Byron Scott typically inserts him. He played 37 minutes and spent most of the fourth quarter hunched over on his knees in the corner while Waiters initiated the offense.
The Cavs began the fourth clinging to an 83-76 lead, but turnovers on their first two possessions allowed the Suns to tie the game at 83 two minutes into the quarter.
It’s amazing the game got to that point considering the start. The Cavs scored the game’s first 10 points and Suns coach Alvin Gentry was forced to call a pair of timeouts within the first four minutes as the Cavs raced out to an 18-2 lead.
The Cavs’ bench was outscored by the Suns’ reserves 47-26 and Daniel Gibson had 19 of those points as the Cavs continue to search for production from their reserves. Alonzo Gee had 15 points and seven rebounds and Anderson Vaerjao had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Waiters was questionable to play with a bruised thigh, but the Cavs’ injured list thinned considerably. The only player still missing is Tyler Zeller, who remains in Cleveland with a concussion and fractured cheekbone.
Waiters had an x-ray on his right thigh after the game, which was negative, but it continues to bother him.
"It's just sore man, real sore. ... It's got to take time on its own to heal, but the season is here. I've got to play through it, there's no way around it."