Phoenix Suns v Cleveland Cavaliers 1/8 Game Preview

Dec 28, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward forward LeBron James (23) passes the ball in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 101-97. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward forward LeBron James (23) passes the ball in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 101-97. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns (12-25) v Cleveland Cavaliers (27-8)

Sunday 1/8/2017 6:30pm
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Fox Sports Arizona/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – Series tied 0-0
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 64-43 (Cleveland has won 2 in a row)
Last Matchup – March 3, 2016, Cleveland won 115-93
Suns’ Last Game – Win over Dallas Mavericks 102-95
Cavaliers’ Last Game – Win over Brooklyn Nets 116-108
Suns’ Scoring AveragesPTS/G: 105.6 (13th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 111.7 (29th of 30)
Cavaliers’ Scoring AveragesPTS/G: 110.0 (4th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 103.2 (11th of 30)


Phoenix Suns

Mini LeBron and LeBron James have something in common: this season they are in an exclusive statistical club with only three other players: The 19/5/5 Club. Only Eric Bledsoe, LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Giannis Antetokounmpo average at least 19 points, 5, rebounds, and 5 assists. Mini LeBron (aka Eric Bledsoe) is averaging 20.1/5.0/5.8. LeBron James is putting forth a 26.1/7.9/8.4 season. Mini LeBron isn’t too far off…To read how unique this statistical line is in Phoenix Suns franchise history, read here…Phoenix won it’s second game in a row – the second time this season they have had a two-game winning streak – defeating the Dallas Mavericks two nights ago. Eric Bledsoe turned it up in crunch time making the big plays and big baskets the Suns needed to put the Mavericks away late. For a full Valley of the Suns wrapup and opinions, read here…The Suns have been stuck in 2nd place in field goals attempted per game pretty much all season. They currently sit there with 88.4 attempted per game…Unfortunately Phoenix is only 21st overall in FG% at 44.3% and 28th overall in eFG% at 48.8%…While only .4 rebounds per game away from 3rd place in the league, they currently sit 6th grabbing 45.4 per game, the most the franchise has averaged since 45.5 in 1990-91…Although Phoenix turns to isolation plays the 10th most of any team in the league, those plays do not necessarily work out for them as they average .81pts per play, 23rd overall. Their eFG% in those plays is 38.4%, 5th worst…Phoenix averages 24.2% of their plays off of Pick & Roll where the ball handler keeps the possession, 1st in the league. Their 1003 possessions of this type is far and away the most of any team. Their eFG% is 19th. Pick and Rolls where the ball handler gets possession is 4.4% of their plays, 2nd to last in the league. Their eFG% of 51.8% is significantly better than when the ball handler keeps possession, though still only 19th in the league overall…The Cavaliers are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league, the Suns are the league’s 5th worst three-point defending team, giving up 36.6% from beyond the arc…Whereas the Suns had been only tenths of a point behind Brooklyn for worst scoring defense in the NBA just five games ago, over that period they have dropped their scoring average by almost 3 points and have allowed only 95.2 points over their last six games. They have only averaged 97.0 points, well off their season average, going 3-3 in that stretch…Over their last three games the Suns have the 2nd worst eFG% in the league at 46.2%. Oddly enough, the worst during that stretch? Cleveland with 45.0%…Devin Booker has hit three three-pointers in each of his last two games, the first time since November 4 and 6, the two nights he scored 38 and 39 points, the youngest player to ever score 38+ points in back-to-back games…Tyson Chandler is averaging 13.6 rebounds over his last five games, and 19.0 in his last two…T.J. Warren scored in double-figures in each of his first 11 games this season. Since coming back from his head injury, he has only scored in double-figures 5 of 11 game, being held scoreless twice, and held to 2 points twice as well. He was averaging 17.7 points before the injury and only 10.3 after. His shooting percentage is also down as he averaged 45.8% from the field prior to the injury, but just 40.9% since…

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Cleveland Cavaliers

After being traded from Atlanta, Kyle Korver’s first game with Cleveland may be tonight against the Phoenix Suns. Korver is shooting 40.9% from beyond the arc, slightly higher than last years 39.8%, though nowhere near the 49.2% that he shot in the 2014-15 season, the 8th highest three-point shooting percentage in NBA history. Korver holds the NBA’s all-time mark of 53.6%, done in 2009-10 while with Utah…The rich get richer with the acquisition of Korver as Cleveland is already 2nd in the league in averages of three-point field goals made per game with12.8, attempted with 33.0, and percentage at 38.8%…They are 4th overall in eFG% at 54.1%…With three superstar players on the roster the Cavs are 2nd in the NBA in isolation plays with 11.9%. They are still a middle of the road assists team, dishing out an average of 22.0, for 16th in the league. As a team that isolates a lot, they dribble a lot as well. Their 15.5% of shots that follow 7+ dribbles is tops in the league. Their 9.2% off of two dribbles and 11.4% of shots off of one, are both 29th in the Association…While the Suns are right near the top of the NBA in free throws attempted per game, Cleveland is 5th overall in fouls per game with only 17.9…LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love account for an average of 72.0 points per game as they each average over 20. LeBron’s 27.9 per game is 5th in the league – his 8.4 assists are 5th overall as well…Irving’s 24.2 points per game is a career high to date. Some of that also comes from his career high eFG% of 53.9%. However, his 17.0 points per game career average against the Suns is the second lowest among all teams he has faced…Kevin Love’s 21.7 points per game this season would be the highest for him as a Cavalier. He had only averaged 16.4 and 16.0 in his first two seasons. His 11.0 rebounds would be his highest in Cleveland as well. His 1.0 steals per game would be a career-high…