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Suns 91, Cavaliers 78

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- Anderson Varejao had a night to remember, but his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates had a night to forget.

The Phoenix Suns sent the Cavs to their fourth consecutive loss with a 91-78 decision Tuesday before a sparse crowd of 13,687 at Quicken Loans Arena.

Varejao finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds, both game highs. He converted 10 of 15 shots from the floor. The mop-haired Brazilian is playing himself on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

He had 14 points in the third quarter, when the Cavs were outscored 34-27. Phoenix scored the final 14 points of the period to take a 71-59 lead heading into the fourth.

The Suns (7-8) were never threatened in the fourth quarter.

They had four players in double figures, led by point guard Goran Dragic, who contributed 19 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Forward Michael Beasley added 15 points, and forward Luis Scola came off the bench to score 14 points.

Cleveland matched its season low by shooting 35.7 percent from the field. It could be fatigue, as the Cavs played their fourth game in five nights, and the second of a back-to-back set.

For the Cavs (3-12), rookie guard Dion Waiters had 16 points, three rebounds and seven assists. He shot just 7-for-20 from the field. Waiters' starting backcourt mate, point guard Jeremy Pargo, shot 3-for-12 and scored eight points. The duo combined to dish out 12 assists.

In addition to their poor shooting, the Cavs committed 19 turnovers, which led to the lopsided loss.

Despite ice-cold shooting in the first half, the Cavs trailed just 37-32 at the break. They shot just 27.3 percent from the field.

Varejao had six points and 10 rebounds in the first half. He helped the Cavs to a 26-16 edge in rebounding before the break.

The Suns are in the midst of their longest road trip of the season: six games in 10 days. They lost the first game of the trip at Philadelphia on Sunday.

Beasley paced the Suns with nine first-half points.

The Suns are not known for their suffocating defense, but they held the Cavs to 25 percent shooting from the field in the first quarter. Phoenix led 19-13 after the first quarter.

The Cavs had just nine points in the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, meaning they produced only 22 points in consecutive quarters.

Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, C.J. Miles, Samardo Samuels and Tyler Zeller shot a combined 0-for-16 from the field in the first half.

The Suns shot 47 percent from the field before halftime. Beasley had a team-high seven points at intermission.

NOTES: Cavs coach Byron Scott holds Varejao in high regard. "To me, he's the best center in the NBA," Scott said. "He's by far the best in the Eastern Conference. Coaches and players are starting to recognize how well he's playing." Varejao entered Tuesday's game averaging 14.1 points, a league-high 14.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists. ... The Cavs led 72 percent of time on their recently completed three-game trip. However, they lost all three games by a combined 12 points. "It would have been more impressive if we had gotten two wins out of the deal," Scott said. The Cavs held double-digit leads in all three games and led at the start of the fourth quarter in all three games. ... Cavs guard Daniel Gibson (sore right elbow) was held out of Tuesday's game. He's now missed three of the last six games with the malady. Gibson stands in fourth place on the Cavs' all-time list in 3-pointers made with 544. Danny Ferry is now fifth with 543. ... The Cavs-Bulls game on Dec. 5 at Quicken Loans Arena will no longer be televised by ESPN. The Cavs-Hornets game on Feb. 20 will be televised nationally by ESPN, and the tip-off was changed to 8 p.m. ... Cleveland rookie guard Dion Waiters averaged 18.7 points on the three-game road trip. ... Zeller said he had a doctor's appointment for Wednesday to check out his broken cheekbone. He's not ready to discard the protective mask just yet.

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