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

Jan 4, 2023, 4:51 AM | Updated: 7:43 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) shoots against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and ...

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) shoots against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and guard Damion Lee during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

              Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) shoots against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and guard Damion Lee during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers guard Raul Neto (19) shoots between Phoenix Suns guard Landry Shamet and center Deandre Ayton during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman (16) shoots against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell shoots against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert (3) drives against Phoenix Suns guard Landry Shamet during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff directs his team against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert (3) attempts a steal against Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns guard Landry Shamet (14) rebounds against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Raul Neto (19) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns guard Landry Shamet (14) passes against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and forward Evan Mobley during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro (35) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo (18) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert drives against Phoenix Suns guard Landry Shamet (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns guard Damion Lee (10) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Raul Neto during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) drives against Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
            
              Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig (0) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Evan Mobley couldn’t remember the last time he made a winning shot. He’ll never forget his first one in the NBA.

“Hopefully,” he said, “more to come.”

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 slumping Phoenix Suns, who lost their fourth straight.

Mitchell finished with just 20 points two nights after scoring 71 — the seventh player in league history to score at least seven. But on Cleveland’s final possession, he drove and fed Mobley, who calmly knocked down his mid-range shot in his return after missing two games with a sore ankle.

Mobley was just 1 of 8 from the floor before knocking down the biggest shot of his young career.

“What people aren’t going to talk about is him relocating,” Mitchell said of his 21-year-old teammate. “He got into my vision and he was right there in that moment, naturally. That’s what makes him special.”

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 as the NBA’s top defensive team got one last stop.

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, but he made a critical 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to tie it 88-all.

“I really didn’t have my legs tonight,” he said. “I was trying to will myself just to be solid.”

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.

“It’s been that kind of trip,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “That was a hard way to lose a game. The guys are hurting after a game like that we should have won.”

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.

SUNNY DISPOSITION

Despite the Suns’ recent slide, which has only worsened without Booker, 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.”

SCORING BINGE

While Mitchell’s 71-point outburst is the highest in the league this season, 40- and 50-point games have become a regular occurrence.

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.”

TIP-INS

Suns: Booker has missed five straight games since reinjuring the groin Dec. 25 at Denver. … 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. … Reserve G Raul Neto gave the Cavs a lift with a season-high 14 points. … 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.

UP NEXT

Suns: Host Miami on Friday night.

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

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Charlotte Hornets' LaMelo Ball, right, looks to pass as Chicago Bulls' Ayo Dosunmu defends during t...
Associated Press

Dosunmu, White lead way as Bulls beat Hornets 114-98

CHICAGO (AP) — Ayo Dosunmu matched a season high with 22 points, Coby White scored 20 points and the Chicago Bulls overcame shaky outings by DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine to beat the Charlotte Hornets 114-98 on Thursday night. Dosunmu made 9 of 10 shots, and White hit three 3-pointers. Nikola Vucevic added 17 points […]
20 hours ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, looks for room against New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbe...
Associated Press

Mavs star Doncic injures heel on fall, out against Pelicans

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has been ruled out of a game against New Orleans after exiting in the third quarter with a right heel injury. Doncic stayed in the game after taking a hard fall Thursday night when he was winding up for a one-handed dunk on a drive and Brandon […]
20 hours ago
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley plays against Memphis Grizzlies forward Santi Aldama (7) du...
Associated Press

Garland scores 32 points, Cavaliers beat Grizzlies 128-113

CLEVELAND (AP) — Darius Garland scored 32 points shortly after being left off the All-Star team and carried Cleveland following Donovan Mitchell’s ejection, leading the Cavaliers to a 128-113 victory over the slumping Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night. Garland was one of several players having All-Star-caliber seasons not named an Eastern Conference reserve by the […]
20 hours ago
New York Knicks' RJ Barrett, left, defends Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler during the first half of an NB...
Associated Press

Barrett scores 30, helps Knicks hold off Heat 106-104

NEW YORK (AP) — RJ Barrett rebounded from a late-game benching with 30 points, Isaiah Hartenstein made big plays on both ends of the floor in the final minute and the New York Knicks beat the Miami Heat 106-104 on Thursday night. New York pulled out the victory after Erik Spoelstra correctly challenged a call […]
20 hours ago
Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (2) drives on Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) du...
Associated Press

James closes in on scoring record, Lakers rally past Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — LeBron James just put his head down and repeatedly drove to the basket Thursday night. It was his vintage move. The same late-game philosophy that led to four NBA championships and has him on the precipice of becoming the NBA’s new career scoring champ worked perfectly again at Indiana. James finished with […]
20 hours ago
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, right, shoots against Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon ...
Associated Press

Cavs All-Star Mitchell ejected after tussle with Grizzlies

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell was ejected in the third quarter Thursday night against Memphis for throwing the ball at Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks after the players tangled under the basket. Brooks was called for a flagrant-2 foul and was also tossed following the fracas with 5:48 left and the Cavs […]
20 hours ago
Evan Mobley hits late jumper, Cavaliers beat Suns 90-88