LeBron, Irving lead Cavs to 118-103 win over SunsPosted: Updated:
Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, All-Star teammate LeBron James had 21 points and 15 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked more like themselves at home in a 118-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
The Cavs were back in Quicken Loans Arena following a six-game road trip (their longest of the season) that concluded with an embarrassing 35-point loss at Golden State. But on their home floor, they had better offensive balance and ball movement while improving to 30-11 -- the same record Cleveland had at the halfway point of its 2016 NBA championship season.
Channing Frye scored 18, Iman Shumpert 17 and James Jones 14 while filling in for star forward Kevin Love, still bothered by back spasms.
Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 16 rebounds, but the Suns lost for the fourth time in five games.
Already thin on their front line with Love out, the Cavs lost forward Tristan Thompson in the second quarter with a dislocated left index finger. However, Thompson returned after halftime.
And Cleveland's offense was in a much better rhythm from the start after a trip that wasn't always pleasing to the eye.
While trying to integrate newly acquired Kyle Korver into their rotation on the road, the Cavs got into some bad habits as they forced passes to one of the league's best shooters. A couple of practices seem to have helped as Korver made a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter of his home debut to help Cleveland open a 21-point lead.
The Suns made a brief run in the third and got within 12 before Shumpert hit a pair of 3s and Jones hit one from long range.
Suns: Chandler has at least 15 rebounds in six straight games, matching the club record set by Jim Fox in 1969. ... Phoenix coach Earl Watson has known Korver for years. When he joined the Jazz in 2010, Watson leased Korver's condominium in Utah. "We go back. I sent him a lot of money every month," Watson said with a smile. "I'm glad I don't do that anymore." On a serious note, Watson said Korver is a perfect addition for Cleveland, especially while J.R. Smith recovers from thumb surgery. "He's a deadly knock-down shooter. He knows how to win," Watson said. "They're looking more long term instead of immediate. You get into the playoffs and you need a big 3 to stretch the floor. He's obviously the best shooter on their team. It's an impressive move."
Cavaliers: James, who missed his 46th career triple-double by one rebound, will be making his 13th consecutive All-Star Game appearance next month. He said the honor never gets old. "Just means I've been doing something right in this league," he said. "Means I'm consistent and taking pride in my individual ability to go out and produce for the team every night, and whatever team I've been on in my career. It's always great to see my name up there with the best guys in the league, so it's a pretty cool thing." ... Smith has had the hard cast removed from his right hand. He's expected back in late March. ... Jones made his first start since April 2, 2015.
Suns: At the New York Knicks on Saturday. Phoenix won the first meeting this season in overtime.
Cavaliers: Host the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in a matchup between two of the NBA's best teams.
Check out the team sites for the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers for more game coverage.