March 07, 2015

New Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue continues to reiterate that he wants his team to push the pace and they'll next face an opponent willing to do that, albeit a lowly one.

The Cavaliers should be primed to get their running game untracked Wednesday night against a short-handed Phoenix Suns team that has lost 11 in a row on the road.

Lue earned his first win in his second game in charge in Monday's 114-107 home victory over Minnesota. LeBron James had 25 points and nine assists and Tristan Thompson added 19 points and 12 boards.

The coach was presented the game ball in the locker room following the win. At Tuesday's practice, he once again stated that he wants Cleveland (31-12) to get into better shape in order to play at a faster tempo.

"It's tough but I told them at the expense of playing more guys or at the expense of losing a couple games, we're looking forward to playing in the playoffs and we've got to get in shape for the playoffs," Lue said. "And I believe that if you're in shape, it makes you tougher mentally and physically and you can do things harder and you things better and you don't give into fatigue."

The Cavaliers average 95.0 possessions per 48 minutes for the league's third-slowest tempo.

Phoenix (14-32) averages 100.7 to rank fourth, although the injury-plagued Suns are unlikely to pose much of a threat Wednesday.

They are already without the injured Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight missed his third straight game Tuesday with a strained groin.

The result was an embarrassing 113-103 loss at Philadelphia as Phoenix was swept by the NBA's worst team. Archie Goodwin scored a season-high 26 points for the Suns, who trailed by as many as 19 points in the second half before their rally fell short.

''You don't want to get down big and try to have to make comebacks,'' coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Phoenix is enduring its longest road slide since dropping 12 in a row in 2012-13. The Suns have dropped seven straight on the road to teams led by James and are 2-6 in the second of back-to-back games.

It's possible James will become the 17th player in NBA history to reach 26,000 career points since he needs 36, although an expected blowout would cut his minutes down and lessen those chances.

The Cavaliers won 101-97 at Phoenix on Dec. 28. Kyrie Irving scored 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left that put Cleveland up by four.

T.J. Warren led the Suns with 23 points in that game and Knight added 18.

Former Cavs coach David Blatt gave Tristan Thompson his first start in over a month that night, leading to nine in a row for the center. He then went back to the bench for a five-game stretch before Lue started him Monday, leading to Thompson's strong effort.

Cleveland is 11-2 when Thompson starts.

"I think starting Tristan does give a lot of energy, you can put him on 4s or 5s to match up," Lue said. "That's something that we're going to look at going forward."

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)