Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 3/25

Game 1: Monday, March 25th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 2nd

Cavaliers 96

(25-45, 8-26 away)

Suns 102

(32-38, 20-16 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 25, 2002

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 24 14 25 3396
    PHX 32 15 17 38102

    Top Performers

    Cle: A. Miller 21 Pts, 17 Ast, 3 Stl

    PHX: S. Marion 29 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Majerle's two late 3's lift Suns

    PHOENIX (AP) -- If Jake Tsakilidis could have a few more nights like this, Stephon Marbury would find life in Phoenix so much easier.

    The 7-foot-2 center was on the receiving end of one pass after another from Marbury in the Suns' 102-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

    "It's fun when you score a couple of dunks. You feel different, you feel better," Tsakilidis said. "If in the beginning of the game you score easy baskets, you feel good."

    Tsakilidis scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and was the big reason Marbury had a season-high 14 assists. Marbury's game is penetration, and when he draws the double-team, the center needs to be ready for a pass. That has given Tsakilidis trouble.

    "Jake was out there ballin' tonight. Tonight he did an unbelievable ball as far as making sure he got open when guys stepped up on me," Marbury said. "You've got to start somewhere."

    Coach Frank Johnson knows Tsakilidis remains very much a work in progress.

    "Every team will aggressively double-team Steph," Johnson said. "Basically they said, `Let's see if Tsakilidis can beat us?"'

    Dan Majerle, in the final weeks of his long NBA career, sank two 3-pointers in the final 3 1/2 minutes.

    "It felt like old times," Majerle said.

    Shawn Marion scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Phoenix. He sank consecutive jumpers from 17 and 20 feet to put the Suns in control 96-89 with 1:11 to play. Marbury scored 20.

    Andre Miller had 21 points and 17 assists for the Cavaliers, who fell to 1-11 against the Pacific Division, 0-6 on the road. Ricky Davis scored 23, while Wesley Person and Michael Doleac added 14 apiece for the Cavs.

    Person's 3-pointer tied it for Cleveland at 84 with four minutes to play, then Majerle sank a 3 as the shot clock expired to put Phoenix up for good 87-84 with 3:30 remaining. Joe Johnson's 12-footer from the baseline gave the Suns an 89-84 lead with 2:50 to go.

    Miller scored and was fouled by Majerle, then Marbury drew a technical for complaining about the call. Person missed the technical free throw, then Miller completed the three-point play to cut Phoenix's lead to 89-87 with 2:37 to play.

    Majerle's 3-pointer put the Suns ahead 92-87 with two minutes left. He sealed it with two free throws with 22.9 seconds remaining.

    "We had a chance to win the ballgame," Cleveland coach John Lucas said. "Wes' miss after the technical didn't get it down to one, then Majerle's '3' was a killer. But I really liked the effort."

    Marion scored 14 and Tskalidis 10 in the first quarter, when the Suns led by as many as 12. Marbury had eight assists in the quarter, most of them passes to Tsakilidis.

    Doleac replaced injured Zydrunas Ilgauskas and led a Cleveland rally. Doleac's third field goal capped a 9-0 run that cut the Suns' lead to 32-28 with 10:52 left in the first half.

    But the Suns scored the next nine to go up 41-28 on Majerle's 3-pointer 6:03 before halftime. Consecutive stuffs by Tsakilidis gave Phoenix its biggest lead of the half, 45-30, with 2:28 remaining.

    The Cavaliers scored the first 10 points of the second half to take their first lead, 48-47, on Chris Mihm's inside hook.

    Game notes

    Tsakilidis' previous career best was 17 points. ... After not playing each other all season, the Suns and Cavaliers meet twice in eight days. ... Some 8,000 Marion bobblehead dolls were handed out before the game. ... Ilgauskas left with 2:09 remaining in the first quarter with lower back spasms and did not return. ... Phoenix has won two in a row for only the second time since Jan. 3.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 102
    FGM-FGA 39-82 (.476) 39-82 (.476)
    3PM-3PA 3-15 (.200) 5-14 (.357)
    FTM-FTA 15-18 (.833) 19-22 (.864)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-36 13-44
    Assists 29 29
    Turnovers 11 12
    Steals 9 5
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 5 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 17 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    Andre Miller Miller
    Points: 21
    Reb: 0
    Ast: 17
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 29
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1