CLEVELAND – Grant Hill scored 27 points, Steve Nash had 15 points and 15 assists, and the Phoenix Suns won their fourth in a row, 106-98 on Wednesday night over the fallen-to-the-bottom Cleveland Cavaliers, who have lost 14 straight and 24 of their last 25.
Vince Carter scored just three points for Phoenix, but they were on a huge 3-pointer from the corner with 2:35 left to put the Suns ahead by eight. Cleveland trimmed a 17-point deficit in the second half to three, but couldn't get closer and fell to an NBA worst 8-33.
Antawn Jamison scored 23 and J.J. Hickson had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland, winless since Dec. 18. The Cavs were at least more competitive than during a just completed five-game road trip, when they lost by an average of 26.2 points.
The Suns, coming off an impressive win at New York on Monday to open a five-game road trip, came to the right place to keep things going.
Quicken Loans Arena has changed and so have the Cavs, who have rapidly fallen from elite status. Their 14-game slide is the league's longest since Washington lost 16 in a row last March. Cleveland is the first team to post a 1-24 stretch since Miami in 2008, according to STATS LLC, and the Cavs could become the first team to have the league's worst record one season after having its best.
Phoenix led by 13 entering the fourth but fell flat. The Cavs raised their defensive intensity and closed to 93-90 on Jamario Moon's 3-pointer with 6:25 remaining. But Hill hit a clutch jumper just before the 24-second clock expired and Nash's basket made it 97-90.
After Hickson made two free throws, Carter, who missed his first five shots and was unusually passive on offense, drained his 3 to put the Suns ahead 100-92. Nash then put the Cavs away with two free throws and a bucket in the final 2:10.
Channing Frye added 18 points and Marcin Gortat matched a career high with 16 for the Suns.
Ramon Sessions scored 19 and Daniel Gibson, back after missing five games with an ankle injury, added 16 — 12 on 3-pointers — for Cleveland.
Their roster ravaged by injuries, the Cavs got more bad news when they learned starting guard Mo Williams will be sidelined indefinitely with a lingering hip injury. Williams received a cortisone shot and doctors have recommended extended rest.
The team did not put an official timeline on his return. Williams said he'll be out at least "a couple weeks" but will not need surgery. That's one positive for the Cavs, who will play the remainder of the season without center Anderson Varejao (torn ankle tendon) and are still missing guards Anthony Parker (back) and Christian Eyenga (ankle) along with forwards Leon Powe (knee surgery) and Joey Graham (leg).
Cavs coach Byron Scott spent the past few days at practice simplifying Cleveland's defense, hoping that by making it easier, players wouldn't be prone to as many mistakes or have excuses. The plan sounded good, but the Cavs reverted to bad habits in the first quarter.
Hill scored 14 points and Nash handed out eight assists in the opening 12 minutes as the Suns, who trailed early on, built a 36-28 lead after one quarter. Phoenix pushed its lead to 15 in the second quarter and was up by 13 at halftime.
Notes: Cleveland hosts Milwaukee on Friday. The team record for consecutive losses is 19. ... Nash has had at least 11 assists in his last four games. ... Varejao is expected to undergo surgery this week. ... At this point in 2010, the Cavs were 31-11. ... Gibson was lucky to escape injury after crashing hard into the padded basket stanchion while defending Hill on a breakaway.