Evan Mobley hits late jumper, Cavaliers beat Suns 90-88

Cleveland Cavaliers logos as of 10/2022
Cleveland Cavaliers logos as of 10/2022(Source: Cleveland Cavaliers)
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 10:37 PM EST
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Evan Mobley’s 14-foot jumper with four seconds left — off an assist from Donovan Mitchell — helped the Cleveland Cavaliers rally for a 90-88 victory Wednesday night over the Phoenix Suns, who lost their fourth straight.

Mitchell finished with just 20 points two nights after scoring 71. But on Cleveland’s final possession, he drove and fed Mobley, who calmly knocked down his shot in his return after missing two games with a sore ankle.

The Suns had a chance to tie it, but Mikal Bridges missed a jumper in the final second. Mitchell snared the rebound and fired the ball to the other end in celebration.

Caris LeVert scored 21 points to lead the Cavs, who spent most of the night chasing the Suns. Mitchell was just 6 of 20 from the field (3 of 12 on 3s) after his historic performance on Monday.

Chris Paul scored 25 points and Deandre Ayton added 15 points and 18 rebounds for Phoenix, which went just 1-5 on a trip and dropped to 4-12 since Dec. 5. The Suns have struggled without injured All-NBA guard Devin Booker, out with a groin strain.

Cleveland was without All-Star guard Darius Garland, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right thumb.

Before the game, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff acknowledged the possibility of an “emotional hangover” for his players following Mitchell’s memorable night.

That was certainly the case in the first half as the Cavs came out flat and missed their first 15 3-point attempts while scoring a season-low 33 points before halftime.

The Suns weren’t much better, but they had Paul, who scored 14 points in the second to give Phoenix a 10-point halftime lead.


Despite the Suns’ recent slide, which only worsened without Booker, coach Monty Williams has been pleased with his team’s togetherness. Practices have stayed spirited and he’s seeing a team determined to fix things.

“We’re just waiting for the breakthrough,” he said. “No splintering. We keep plugging away and that has been our mentality from the jump. That’s what I keep telling the guys, ‘keep pushing.”


While Mitchell’s 71-point outburst is the highest in the league this season, 40- and 50-point games have become a regular occurrence. Dallas superstar Luka Doncic recently scored 60.

Bickerstaff believes the scoring spike is a combination of factors, including defensive rules that allow offensive freedom and a generation of elite players who began working on their individual skills at a young age.

“The league is in a wonderful place as far as talent,” he said. “It literally seems like every night you’re seeing somebody do something spectacular.”


Suns: Booker has missed five straight games since reinjuring the groin Dec. 25 at Denver. He missed the three games before that Christmas night game with groin soreness. The team expects him to miss several more weeks. ... G Cameron Payne didn’t play in the second half due to right foot discomfort. ... Bridges played in his 348th consecutive game, the league’s current longest Ironman streak. He has never missed a game as a pro or at Villanova.

Cavaliers: Mitchell added 11 assists Monday, meaning he accounted for 99 points — the second most in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 104 in 1962. ... Garland took part in the team’s morning shootaround, wearing a protective wrap on his thumb. It’s possible he’ll return later this week. ... Cleveland is 6-0 in overtime games, already a team record for a season. Dating to last season, the Cavs have won their last eight OT games.


Suns: Host Miami on Friday night.

Cavaliers: Open a five-game trip Friday night at Denver.


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