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Cleveland Cavaliers

Recap: Suns 106, Cavs 98

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 19, 2011

It's no coincidence that the one defense Cavs coach Byron Scott has chosen to stick with is the one that Mike Brown had a lot of success with during his time with the Cavs.

The players are used to it, they're comfortable when they "show" off a pick-and-roll and it was a staple to the teams ranked among the best in the league defensively the last few years. Put as simply as possible, the "show" defense in a pick-and-roll stops the ball handler from going directly to the basket.

It is intended to slow down the guard from getting into the paint with dribble penetration, which thereby forces the defense to collapse and often leaves shooters open on the perimeter. But it also puts a lot of pressure on the help side, because a defender has to come pick up the big man that is rolling to the basket.

The Cavs again struggled with this in the first half tonight and were punished by allowing easy layups to the Suns. They turned it around in the second half, though, and came up with aggressive steals and missed shots.

"We had guys where we wanted them to be" in the second half, Scott said. "In the first half they were getting layups because guys weren't getting there."

There is still a long ways to go, and one good half against a team that was coasting doesn't make this a good defensive team. But the Milwaukee Bucks are coming in Friday with the league's worst offense. They also provide the Cavs' best shot at a victory this month. If they don't beat the Bucks Friday ... well, we'll get to that later. But they may have their first winless month of more than five games in team history.

Stats
Cavs

Antawn Jamison 23 points, six rebounds
J.J. Hickson 16 points, 15 rebounds
Ramon Sessions 19 points, eight assists
Daniel Gibson 16 points, 4 of 6 on 3s
Suns
Grant Hill 27 points, 12 rebounds
Steve Nash 15 points, 15 assists
Marcin Gortat 16 points, 12 rebounds

Turning point
Jamario Moon's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 93-90 with 6:25 left, but the Cavs didn't score another basket until just 25 seconds remained in the game.

Key stat
The Cavs had a season-high 11 steals on defense.

They said it
“You don’t want to take a step backwards come Friday. If we can play defense like we did in the second half for 48 minutes, then we'll give ourselves an opportunity to win." -- coach Byron Scott

Up next
The Cavs (8-33) host Milwaukee at 7 p.m. on Friday

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