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Suns begin road trip with short-handed Cavs

(Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

One game after playing the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, the Phoenix Suns begin their road swing on Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are currently No. 3 in the East.

Phoenix lost 117-107 to the Boston Celtics on Saturday despite Kevin Durant scoring 45 points. After the loss, the Suns played six home games with a record of four wins and three losses, finishing seven games. They played the final four games of that period without Devin Booker.

Suns manager Frank Vogel told reporters before Saturday’s game that Booker is “still not good enough” to return from the right ankle injury Phoenix suffered on March 2 against the Houston Rockets. Ta. But Vogel said he has been “pleasantly surprised” by Booker’s progress in training.

Grayson Allen helped fill the scoring hole. He scored 28 points against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday and 26 points against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.

Allen set a franchise record with seven 3-pointers in the first quarter against Toronto. However, he struggled against Boston, going 0-for-4 from beyond the arc and scoring just seven points.

“I wish Grayson would have gotten more attention,” Durant said after Saturday’s game. “I think every team emphasizes (trying to make 40 3-pointers per game). It’s hard to make that many 3-pointers. Like, you have to make stops, you have to do it in transition. You have to get out.’”

The Cavaliers are holding opponents to 109.4 points per game, tied for third in the league, and are eighth in the NBA in made 12.1 3-pointers per game.

On Sunday, the Cavaliers were plagued by various injuries and struggled against an uncharacteristically versatile defense in their 120-101 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets made 18 of 35 3-pointers and shot 53.2 percent from the floor. The 120 points were the most points Cleveland has allowed in regulation since a 123-121 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on February 12th.

The Cavaliers played Sunday without star guard Donovan Mitchell, who missed his sixth straight game with a knee injury.

Evan Mobley lost his third straight game Sunday with a sprained left ankle. Cleveland also was without Max Strus, who missed four straight games with a knee injury.

“When you’re forcing your team into transition, it’s much harder to come back from that than when you’re locking them down and keeping them on one side of the ball,” said Georges Nihan, who scored a team-high 20 points on Sunday. he told Bally Sports Cleveland. “We’ll definitely have to do it that (Monday) night.”

–Field level media

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