The Cleveland Cavaliers have bounced back from a season-high six-game losing streak with four consecutive wins.
Getting their fifth may be the toughest.
The Cavaliers will host the Phoenix Suns, who have dominated the matchup in four of the last games at Cleveland and 11 of 13 overall.
Cleveland has reached 100 points against Phoenix just four times in the last 13 meetings, posting a 2-2 record in those games.
But for the Cavaliers to extend their current streak, they will need strong games from players other than LeBron James.
Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas drained 12 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to help Cleveland beat the Indiana Pacers 93-89 on Friday. Ilgauskas benefitted from the absence of injured Pacer Jermaine O’Neal to finish with 27 points and six rebounds.
“It definitely makes things a lot easier for me,” said Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers second-leading scorer with 16.3 points per game. “I was able to make strong moves to the basket in the second half, and I shot a lot of free throws and I was able to make them.”
James added 30 points, including 14 in the first quarter, nine assists and seven rebounds. He is averaging 35.5 points over the last four games since matching his season low with 14 points in a loss Jan. 20 to Golden State.
“We have been doing a great job lately of closing out games on the road, and it was nice to see us able to do that here tonight,” said James, whose team will play at home for just the second time in 10 games. “It’s something we need to keep up.”
James had 46 points Jan. 14 in a 115-106 loss in Phoenix.
Phoenix, which is on a season-high six-game road trip, is looking for its first three-game road winning streak since a season-high four in a row from Dec. 26-31.
Boris Diaw, who averages 11.9 points per game, scored 25 points in his first game back in Atlanta since he was traded to the Suns last summer as Phoenix defeated the Hawks Friday 111-106.
“I don’t know if it’s anything personal,” said Suns coach Mike D’Antoni, whose team leads the Pacific Division. “You’d have to ask him. But it sure seemed like it.”
Marion is averaging 19.0 points and 9.6 rebounds in 11 career games against the Cavaliers.