- Associated Press - Thursday, March 13, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - What was supposed to be the triumphant return of Eric Bledsoe for Phoenix instead was an ugly home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kyrie Irving scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Cavaliers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 110-101 victory on Wednesday night.

Spencer Hawes added 19, 17 in the first quarter, and Luol Deng scored 18 for Cleveland.

Bledsoe, who underwent knee surgery and missed 33 games, had 15 points on 5 for 16 shooting and a team-high nine assists in 32 minutes.


“It spoiled everything,” he said of the loss. “It was a team we needed to beat and a game we needed to win, so now it’s going to make it that much tougher.”

Goran Dragic scored 20 points, Markieff Morris 18 and Channing Frye 17 in the Suns’ third straight loss.

Irving also had nine rebounds and six assists for the Cavs, who never trailed, building a 14-point first-quarter lead.

“They looked like the team that was trying to get into the playoffs,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We looked like the team that just wanted to play a basketball game.”

Phoenix fell two games behind Memphis and Dallas for the final two playoff spots in the West.

The Cavaliers led by as many as 20 at home before falling to Phoenix earlier this season. But they held off a Phoenix rally this time.

“A lot of huge contributions from a lot of our guys, especially from the three-point line,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.

Cleveland led by 15 in the opening minutes of the third quarter but the Suns, behind Dragic’s 11 third-quarter points, cut it to two twice late in the period, the last time on Gerald Green’s 11-footer in the lane that made it 77-75 with 35.9 seconds left.

But after the teams traded baskets, Dion Waiters made a 3 at the buzzer to put Cleveland up 82-77 entering the fourth.

It was part of a 12-2 run that gave the Cavaliers an 89-77 lead on Irving’s 18-footer with 10:15 to play.

Green’s steal and breakaway dunk cut it to 89-81, but Irving scored eight, including two 3s, in a 9-3 spurt and the Cavs led 98-84 with 6:33 left.

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