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Game Preview: Suns look for 14th straight win in Cleveland

Phoenix will try to keep the good times rolling against a sneaky good Cleveland team.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Phoenix Suns Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns (14-3) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (9-9)

When: 5:00 PM AZ Time

Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH.

Watch: Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

Line: PHX -7.5


The Phoenix Suns have won 13 straight games, and they’ll look to make it 14 on the road in Cleveland. The Cavs have dropped three straight home games, so they’ll be looking to snap out of that funk.

Phoenix is 6-1 on the road, making them true “road killers” so far this season outside of their early-season loss to the Blazers in Portland.

Deandre Ayton has been on a tear in 5 games since returning from injury, posting 18.2 PPG, and 12.8 RPG on 67.7% shooting from the field. He’ll need to continue that hot streak against a potent Cavaliers frontcourt, even without the injured rookie Evan Mobley. They still have Jarrett Allen up front along with Lauri Markkanen and Kevin Love.

In their first meeting nearly a month ago, Phoenix won 101-92 led by Devin Booker’s 27 points and 9 assists.

Projected Starters

Phoenix

Chris Paul

Devin Booker

Mikal Bridges

Jae Crowder

Deandre Ayton

Cleveland

Jarrett Allen

Lauri Markkanen

Dean Wade

Isaac Okoro

Darius Garland


Injury Report

Phoenix

  • Frank Kaminsky — OUT
  • Abdel Nader — DTD
  • Dario Saric — OUT

Cleveland

  • Cedi Osman — Probable
  • Darius Garland — Questionable
  • Evan Mobley — OUT
  • Collin Sexton — OUT
  • Lamar Stevens — OUT

Note: Garland (neck) was spotted putting up shots during the Cavaliers’ morning shootaround, but he remains questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Suns, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic reports.


Keys to the Game

  • Don’t give them hope

Building a solid lead early on will be a major key against a young, hungry squad like Cleveland. The Cavs were neck and neck with the Nets in their last game for example and were almost able to pull off the upset only losing by 5 in the final stages.

They’ve made the mistake of “playing down” to their opponent’s level or energy for the start of games and waited to crank it up a notch in the 4th to close it out. Eventually that will bite them in the rear, so hopefully tonight the energy level is strong out of the gate.

  • Battle of the Bigs

Rebounding will be the key against the Cavs frontline which boasts Jarrett Allen (fresh off a 20 point, 15 rebound performance) Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love plus “big wings” in Dean Wade, Isaac Okoro, and Cedi Osman.

JaVale McGee will be needed to step up yet again off the bench, especially with Frank Kaminsky out. Jae Crowder, Cam Johnson, and Mikal Bridges will all need to be extremely active on both ends as well crashing the glass.

  • Guard Play + Rubio Revenge Tour?

If Darius Garland is unable to go, that would be a major blow for an already thin Cavs rotation. Ricky Rubio was moved back to the bench upon Markkanen’s return from H&S protocols. He’s played out of his mind for most of this season, so Phoenix will have to do its best to slow him down in a game he’ll have extra motivation for.

Phoenix’s backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker along with the bench duo “ShamPayne” should be able to provide them 48 quality minutes, which is a luxury they’ll need to take advantage of against a shorthanded Cavs team.

Prediction

Suns take care of a business and survive a scare against a very competitive Cleveland squad.

Suns win 111-107.