CLEVELAND — Goran Dragic scored 19 points, Michael Beasley added 15 and the Phoenix Suns took control late in the third quarter to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 91-78 Tuesday night.
The Suns scored the final 14 points of the third to take a 71-59 lead they would not relinquish, sending Cleveland to its 10th loss in 11 games.
Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao had 20 points and 18 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double. He came in leading the NBA in rebounding with a 14.7 average.
Cleveland, playing its fourth game in five nights, took a 59-57 lead with 3:28 left in the third quarter on Dion Waiters’ layup, but a more rested Suns team took over. Four points each by Beasley, Jared Dudley and Luis Scola and a basket by Jermaine O’Neal accounted for the run.
Scola scored 14 points, while Dudley added 11 for Phoenix.
Waiters had 16 points and seven assists, and Alonzo Gee had 12 points for Cleveland.
Cleveland went 0-3 on a trip through Orlando, Miami and Memphis — with the losses coming by a combined 12 points. The Cavaliers scored 13 in the first quarter after putting up nine in the fourth of Monday’s loss to the Grizzlies.
Phoenix, playing its second on a six-game trip, improved to 2-5 away from home to avoid its worst road start in a decade. The Suns opened their 2002-03 road schedule 1-7.
The Suns are giving up a league-worst 103.3 points per game, but Cleveland struggled offensively. The Cavaliers scored 32 points and made 12 of 44 shots in the first half, finishing at 36 percent (30 of 84) for the game.
The Suns overcame a 26-point third-quarter deficit in a 107-105 victory over the Cavaliers on Nov. 9 in Phoenix.
Varejao, making a strong bid for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, continued his outstanding play. He was 10 of 15 from the field and scored 14 points in the third quarter. Prior to the game, Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said Varejao was the best center in the league and Suns coach Alvin Gentry compared his rebounding ability to former NBA star Dennis Rodman.
Cleveland played its fifth straight game without star point guard Kyrie Irving, who is out until mid-December with a broken left index finger. Irving went through a shooting drill before the game with his finger in a splint and heavily wrapped in blue tape.
Cavaliers backup shooting guard Daniel Gibson missed the game with a sore right elbow. Waiters bruised his left hand in the second quarter and left the game, but X-rays were negative. He eventually returned.
NOTES: O’Neal had nine points, snapping his streak of double-figure games at five. ... Technicals were issued to Suns G Shannon Brown and Waiters in the third quarter. ... Phoenix is at Detroit on Wednesday. The Suns complete their road trip against Toronto, New York and Memphis. ... The Cavaliers went into Tuesday having played a league-low four home games. ... Cleveland is off until Friday when it plays at Atlanta.MORE IN Sports Wire
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