|Date of game: 1/13/2015
Recap: Phoenix vs. Cleveland
Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Markieff Morris scored a career-high 35 points and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-100 on Tuesday night.
James had 33 points in under 37 minutes after missing the previous two weeks because of back and knee injuries. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cavs come back from 19 down in the third and take the lead four times in the last 7 1/2 minutes.
But the Suns took the lead for good on two Eric Bledsoe free throws with 3:31 remaining and P.J. Tucker made two hustle plays that led to four consecutive free throws down the stretch to help them hang on.
Goran Dragic added 18 points for the Suns, who started an eight-game homestand by snapping a two-game losing streak. Alex Len had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Bledsoe scored 12 and Tucker added 10 points in the win.
Tucker crashed into the lane for an offensive rebound after Morris missed from the left corner in the final minute.
"There was no way I wasn't getting that one," he said.
He was fouled hard, but made both free throws for a 105-100 Suns lead with 26.7 seconds remaining.
After James missed a 3-pointer at the other end, Morris won a jump ball and Tucker tracked it down near the sideline. He was fouled and made both shots again with 18.1 ticks left, giving Phoenix its final margin of victory.
"It's one of those games where every possession counts," said Tucker.
James' return from a strained back and sore knee didn't shake the Cavs from their funk. They went 1-7 without the four-time MVP in the lineup and dropped a sixth game in a row upon his return, falling below .500 (19-20) for the first time since losing their 13th game of the season on Nov. 24.
James was 11-of-18 from the field, including 3-for-8 on 3-pointers. He made eight of his 13 free throws and had seven rebounds and five assists.
He said he thought he'd run out of gas, but ended up feeling better than he did two weeks ago before his injuries.
"Yesterday at practice my lungs were burning and I guess I was able to get my second wind today," said James. "I couldn't make those moves two weeks ago. To come back and feel the way I like to feel was pretty cool."
J.R. Smith made his biggest contribution since the Cavs acquired him from New York last week, knocking down eight 3-pointers and pouring in 29 points. But Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving scored just nine points each, going a combined 7- for-25 from the field.
Morris scored 12 of his 35 points in the first quarter and the Suns led by as many as nine. He had four points in the second, helping them to a 59-51 edge at halftime.
The Suns shot better than 56 percent in the third quarter and went up by as many as 19 after a 15-4 run despite Smith's 15 points for Cleveland in the frame.Game Notes
Morris' previous career high was 30 in a 118-114 win in Boston on Nov. 17 ...
The Cavs will finish a five-game road trip in Los Angeles against the Lakers
and Clippers on Thursday and Friday ... The Suns host Minnesota on Friday.