92 - 109 Final
  for this game

Williams helps Cavs rout Suns, get back on track

Feb 12, 2009 - 4:49 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- By the sound of it, Mo Williams didn't even want to be on the court Wednesday night.

Begrudgingly, Williams scored 29 of his career-high 44 points in the first half as the Cleveland Cavaliers ended their brief two-game losing streak with a 109-92 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who played without point guard Steve Nash.

While Nash sat out, his point guard counterpart gave it a go.

"I didn't feel good, to be honest," he said. "The fatigue. Back was hurt. I was looking forward to the All-Star break. Hit a couple of shots and all of a sudden I felt all right."

Nash, for his part, has been bothered by nagging back, shoulder and hamstring injuries. Without the two-time MVP, the Suns committed 26 turnovers.

"Two areas that really hurt us were our turnovers and offensive rebounding," Phoenix coach Terry Porter said. "They almost got 50 points off those two things alone, and on the road, you just can't do it."

LeBron James collected 26 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Cavaliers, who had suffered their first back-to-back losses of the season entering this contest.

The second setback came Tuesday, when the Indiana Pacers got the benefit of a whistle from official Joey Crawford, who called a foul on James with two-tenths of a second left that led to the winning free throw by Danny Granger.

Williams, who was selected to replace the injured Chris Bosh in Sunday's All-Star Game, also was announced as a replacement for Jameer Nelson in Saturday's Skills Challenge.

He played worthy of those accolades in this one, shooting 18-of-26 from the field - including 7-of-9 from the arc.

"For Mo, we all believed that he should have been there," James said. "We're really excited and so is he. That's why I think you saw him play so well tonight - to show everybody that he really belonged.

"He showed why we have 40 wins before the All-Star break. He's probably the biggest reason and he did it once again."

Cleveland's premier offseason acquisition, Williams recorded his previous career-high on January 27, when he scored 43 points against the Sacramento Kings. He added 11 assists and eight rebounds in that contest, narrowly missing a triple-double on a night when James had one of his own.

With the performance against Phoenix, Williams became the first Cavalier in the James era to notch two 40-point games - other than James, of course - since Ricky Davis did so in 2002-03.

According to Williams, his teammates are happy that he has been having that kind of success.

"I scored 44 today and everybody in this locker room was happy," he said. "Everybody in this locker room. You don't get that around the league and on teams. Some guys do it and their teammates don't care.

"Sometimes their teammates are jealous. Sometimes they hope you fail. That's one thing about this team, everybody is pulling for one another. Everybody wants to see somebody shine. I was a replacement for the All-Star and everybody was happy."

The diminutive guard wasted no time in this one, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first quarter as the teams were tied at 29-29 after one.

Williams shot 12-of-15, including 4-of-4 from the arc, in the first half as Cleveland outscored Phoenix, 35-23, in the second quarter to take control of the game.

"I thought Mo's ability to score the basketball was the difference for us offensively tonight," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.

The Suns cut their deficit to six when Amare Stoudemire converted consecutive layups, forcing a timeout by Cleveland with 8:03 left in third. That's as close the Phoenix got in the second half.

Williams capped his night with a three to make it 103-79 with 6:20 left, giving him his career-best effort and earning him a standing ovation when he left the game less than a minute later.

With trade rumors swirling around him, Stoudemire scored 27 points for Phoenix, which has lost five of its last eight games.

"My gut (feeling), I'm not sure," Stoudemire said about his future with the Suns. "I think so, I think I'll still be in Phoenix next week, but you never know.

"It's not fun. I'm more used to winning 17 out of 17 (games). We've had times where we won 17 straight, or 15 straight times, so I'm more used to winning than losing."

It was a rare loss in the series for the Suns, who had won each of the last four meetings with the Cavs and 15 of 18 overall.