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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Cavs at Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers (4-5) at Phoenix Suns (4-5)
Time: 9 p.m.; Venue: U.S. Airways Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving (15.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.1 apg), SG Anthony Parker (7.2, 2.6, 2.0), SF Omri Casspi (6.3, 2.3, 1.3), PF Antawn Jamison (16.7, 6.0, 0.9), C Anderson Varejao (9.4, 10.2, 1.6)
Suns probables: PG Steve Nash (12.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 9.6 apg), SG Jared Dudley (11.0, 3.9, 1.7), SF Grant Hill (9.2, 3.7, 1.7), PF Channing Frye (7.9, 7.1, 0.7), C Marcin Gortat (12.7, 7.3, 0.7)
Injuries: Cavs -- None; Suns -- Marcin Gortat (fractured thumb) probable
Officials: Joe Crawford, Tommy Nunez Jr., Gary Zielinski

* The Suns uthat helter-skelter pace that became their trademark for years under Steve Nash, but they'll still run after forcing turnovers and when it suits them. Instead, the Suns have become more of a (gasp!) defensive team under first-year assistant coach Elston Turner, who was hired by head coach Alvin Gentry to install defensive principles.

* The Suns are allowing 92.3 points per game, which if it holds would rank as the second-fewest allowed in franchise history. Of course, there are 57 games to go. But the Suns are certainly committed to the defensive end. "Alvin has always tried to impress upon these guys to play defense. I think it's finally getting through. They understand if they're going to be successful, they can't just outscore everyone every night."

* Scott called Daniel Gibson his best perimeter defender, quite a compliment for an undersized guard who gives up about 4-5 inches on his opponent every night. But Scott said Gibson is tough, gritty, one of the strongest players on the team physically and "tough as nails," Scott said.

* He called Alonzo Gee his most consistent bench player and just loves how Gee is defending and going all out every night. Scott said he rewards Gee's defensive efforts by running plays for him on the offensive end.

* The Suns are an old team about to get a little older. Former OSU star Michael Redd is expected to make his debut tonight, but it'll be a tight fit in Gentry's rotation. The Suns already play 10 guys consistently, but want to see what Redd can provide after playing just 61 games over the last three seasons because he tore the ACL in his left knee twice. He's on a one-year deal with the Suns while both sides see if he has anything left.

* Cavs rookie Kyrie Irving and Suns veteran Grant Hill have a formed a connection over their Duke roots. Hill had a toe injury similar to what Irving suffered, although Irving's was considered worse. Injuries limited Hill, 39, to less than 30 games in four of his six years with the Orlando Magic, but he's managed to stay relatively healthy in his previous four seasons with the Suns. "If it wasn’t for that nagging ankle injury, he would have been hands down one of the best small forwards to ever play the game," Irving said. "To see what he still can do out there is incredible. I’m really proud of him."

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