But these Cavs aren't playing like any Finals contenders. And in the West, they'd be an also-ran.
LeBron James came back in this game after missing eight with back tightness, and played worse than Kevin Durant had done a couple weeks ago in a comeback game. LeBron was noticeably off on his shots, except for a couple of long threes and a couple of good drives to the rim.
The Suns took control of the game early and kept it the whole first half, leading by eight at halftime despite a 5-0 run in the final seconds spearheaded by LBJ himself.
Then the Suns did something special. They regained their composure and made great plays and solid shots to take a 6-point lead with a minute left behind Markieff Morris' season high of 35 points.
LeBron James made it a 3-point game with an and-one but then the Suns got an offensive rebound (Tucker hit the floor really hard) to get free throw to bring it back to a two-possession game and the Cavs were spent.
Tucker made the Suns last four points on free throws to seal the win.
Great team win!!
And awesome game from Chief Keef!
The game began with both teams playing like they hadn't really found their stride yet, but then Goran Dragic took advantage of J.R. Smith's lazy defense to score a few early buckets.
Between a LeBron steal, and a LeBron slam, the Suns took a 9-4 lead early by being opportunistic in transition (as usual). Alex Len was active in the halfcourt as well, with a couple of point blank scoring opps.
Then LeBron and Love hit back to back bombs and the Cavs looked like they were waking up and had the 11-10 lead. Either Tucker or Bledsoe very nearly drew a tech on a LeBron drive was questionably called a Suns foul. But luckily it wasn't a tech, because Hornacek would have had to sit the offender the rest of the game per his rules.
Len got Mozgov out of the lineup quickly with 2 fouls, while he played most of the quarter, getting 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a block.
The Cavs went 5-11 on threes in the first quarter, but were still down 7 going into the second quarter because they weren't playing team ball.
The Suns, on the other hand, were focused and ready to play.
Meanwhile, the Morris brothers figured out pretty quickly how to get the ball to Brandan Wright with a couple of great slams of Morris assists.
31-24 after one, with the Suns having TEN assists on 13 made baskets. That's hot.
The second quarter started with another Wright slam and a long shot by Marcus. The Suns kept the lead by playing team ball while the Cavs played hero ball. I'm really glad the Suns are playing this team at this point, before they get their crap together.
The second quarter was basically the Suns holding the lead against a Cavs team that was a group of individuals not really sure of how to play together. To be fair, there are many moving parts on this Cavs team. LeBron and Marion out a while. Smith and Mozgov are new. And three of those are high usage players.
Kyrie Irving was non-existent in this game. And Love had the quietest 9 points, 8 rebounds in a half that I've ever seen.
The Suns had a 13-point lead with seconds left in the half but LeBron helped them close on a 5-0 run to keep the game to eight points.
Unless a new Cavs team comes out in the second half, that won't really matter.
Markieff Morris had 16 points and 6 rebounds in the first half, while Goran Dragic had 15 points and Alex Len had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block.
Suns up 59-51.
This quarter a little worse for the Suns, with a nice offensive set by the Cavs to get Kyrie an open look. We don't want to see too much of that this half.
But then the Cavs went back to being the Cavs by not executing on offense and not playing good D.
The Suns got back up. this time by a game high 16 points and the Cavs appeared to have no answer.
Imagine LeBron having signed with the Suns last summer, bringing Love with him, and THIS is what we get? A 19-19 team losing by 16 in the third quarter...
Anyway, back to Sunsland.
The Suns were playing with effort on the boards, gang-boarding most of the Cavs misses. It was a sight to see.
And where did this high-low passing from bigs come from? I LOVE IT.
The Suns turned off the gas.
And J.R Smith got hot.
And suddenly a 19-point lead was down to 6 at the end of the third quarter after Smith had hit 4 threes in the last couple of minutes of the quarter.
More of the Cavs coming on strong, while the Suns wilted. The Cavs eventually took the lead 90-88 but the Suns came back a bit.
Markieff Morris became a low-post scorer the Suns needed and they began to hustle again. The Cavs made some dagger shots, but so did the Suns.
It was 94-93 Suns with 5:04 to play.
All thanks to J.R. Smith getting them back in the game.
Haymakers every time down the court.
Keef Morris got his career high with three minutes left (33) and the game still in the balance.
And then the Suns did something they have rarely done this season - close out a close game with smart plays!
Very well done, team.
Very well done.