NBA Basketball

Phenom guards meet as Cavs visit Suns

When the Cleveland Cavaliers play at the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, there won't be much on-court drama, unless both teams are feeling anxious about the NBA draft lottery on May 14.

The Suns (17-60) have the second-worst record in the league, while the Cavaliers (19-58) are third worst, meaning each, right now, has a 14 percent chance of winning the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. But hoping for the No. 1 pick in the draft isn't the only topic of discussion for these teams.

There is plenty of entertainment value right now wrapped up in the play of two young, dynamic guards.

The Suns' 22-year-old Devin Booker averaged 34.0 points, 6.8 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 15 games in March and is at his hottest. He has scored 157 points in the past three games, making 57 of 92 shots from the field.

After becoming the 10th player in NBA history to have back-to-back 50-point games, he fell just short of another with 48 in a 120-115 loss against visiting Memphis on Saturday night.

Booker, who is averaging 26.9 points for the season, has missed 15 games due to various injuries.

"That's what I've been asking for all season, just to be 100 percent healthy," Booker told reporters this week.

"As an athlete, that's when you're at your best ability. When you're going through games that you don't want to make this certain move or this certain movement because you're scared what's going to happen, it's a whole different game."

Booker on Saturday night did become the first player in franchise history with three consecutive games with at least 40 points.

Meanwhile, a pillar of the Cavs' rebuild is speedy 20-year-old rookie Collin Sexton.

He is coming off his best month, averaging 22.4 points and shooting 51.0 percent from the field in 15 games in March. Sexton has scored 20-plus points in 11 of the past 12 games.

Through Saturday's game, he led NBA rookies in double-digit scoring games (68) and free throw shooting (84.0 percent), while second in 3-point shooting (41.0) and third in points per game (16.5).

The Cavs also are getting the best of sixth-man Jordan Clarkson, who is averaging 17.0 points, the best figure of his five-year career. He had a game-high 26 as the Cavs fell at the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.

"I'm not really surprised by (Clarkson's) performance," said Cavs forward Cedi Osman. "He does this all the time. He is a professional scorer. He is a great player. You just give him the ball and he will score the basketball."

As for the big-man matchup on Monday night, it might not materialize.

Phoenix rookie Deandre Ayton (16.3 points, 10.3 rebounds per game) left Saturday night's game with a sprained left ankle and will not play Monday night. Cleveland's Kevin Love (17.6, 11.2) sat Saturday because of left shoulder soreness.

"It's always good to have your key guy, your go-to guy, because you can run your offense through him," said Cavs coach Larry Drew. "With no Kevin Love in the lineup, we have to do things a little bit differently."

Love had 16 points and 11 rebounds when the Cavs beat visiting Phoenix 111-98 on Feb. 21.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 31, 2019

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