Bob Sura Articles

Sura is a sure shooter
Cavs guard lights it up from long distance
Monday, December 06, 1999
By MARY SCHMITT BOYER
PLAIN DEALER REPORTER

Bob Sura is in love.
Standing far out on the basketball court, a glow comes over him. There's a twinkle in his eye. A smile plays on his lips. A touch, a caress and then . . .
Boom! He launches another 3-pointer.
Chicks dig the long ball, according to those goofy television commercials, and so does the Cavaliers' shooting guard. It has replaced the no-look pass as his weapon of choice.
"I always thought of myself as a player who was able to do a little bit of everything on the court - play defense, pass the ball, shoot the ball, score," said Sura, whose 15.3-point average is second on the team to Shawn Kemp's 19.7. "At different times, different parts of my game are going to shine. Now it's my outside shot."
Sura is averaging a healthy 43.9 percent from the 3-point line (29 of 66), compared to 47.6 percent (49 of 103) for the rest of his field goals. But he has become so enamored with the 3-point shot that more than one of every three of his shots comes from behind the line.
What is it about that shot Sura likes so much?
"It's definitely a big play," he said. "It can turn a game around. It gets the crowd going. It gets me going. I like to come out, especially early in games and take a few and try to get into the flow.
"It does have its downfalls when you miss it.
"But if you're on a roll, I always feel like you need to try to get a couple up there to see if you can continue to make a run and score some points in a hurry."
Cavaliers coach Randy Wittman has some reservations about the shot, but he doesn't mind Sura firing them.
"When it's a good shot," said the Cavs coach, who used the 3-pointer sparingly in his nine-year career (17 of 53). "That's what he's got to understand. He's shooting it with a lot of confidence. When it's a shot that's in the flow of what we're doing, I don't have a problem with it. When you're on a bad run and the other team has outscored you, 10-0, and there's one pass and you shoot it, no, I don't like it. We're doing a better job of understanding what is a good shot and what is a bad shot."
"It's gotten better over the last four games. We had a stretch there where it wasn't very good - Boston, Indiana. That stretch we didn't have an understanding of what was a good shot and what was a bad one. Over the last four games, we've done a much better job, even in our break, understanding time, situation and what was needed. Do we need to make sure we get a basket or to the free throw line? Then you don't take a quick jumper."
The problem with the 3-pointer is that a miss can lead to a long defensive rebound and a fast break for the opponent. So instead of picking up a quick three points, it's an even quicker two on the other end.
Sura knows that, but he says sometimes he can't stop himself.
"You don't want to fire them up at all costs," said Sura, who comes in an hour or two before practice every day to practice his 3-pointers - and his free throws. "But if I hit two or three in a row, I'm going to try and get another one up real quick just to see how it really is going."

Live Chat with Bob Sura
Bob Sura talked about his favorite restaurants and the reasons behind his turnaround in a live chat with you on Cleveland Live. 
Thurday, December 2, 1999
Cleveland Live: Hello Cavs fans and welcome to the second Cavs chat of the season. Today's guest is Cavs' starting shooting guard Bob Sura. Let's get the ball rolling with the first question from Cavsman who asks "I was just curious as to how much of your turnaround can be credited to the new coaching staff?"

Bob Sura: I'm being used more this year and I would attribute it to my off season workouts.
Cleveland Live: A fan wants to know who is the most difficult player in the league to guard?
Bob Sura: Allen Iverson is definitely the most difficult to guard...Kobe Bryant is also pretty tough.
Cleveland Live: Monica wants to know if you are married or have a girlfriend?
Bob Sura: No, I'm happily single.
Cleveland Live: Harm wants to know what you did in the off season to improve your outside shot?
Bob Sura: I spend a lot of time shooting in basketball drills in the off season. I think the increased minutes on the floor is helping this year also.
Cleveland Live: sponge wants to know if Bob can still dunk like he did his rookie season when he was in the slam dunk contest?
Bob Sura: I've been making my outside shots a lot, so it hasn't been necessary...guys are ready for me knowing I can go to the basket more so now than in the past.
Cleveland Live: joeyjoe2k remembers when Dan Majerle was here, he was sort of like your mentor... are you still good friends and do you ever hang out with him?
Bob Sura: It's kind of faded over the years, but when he was here he taught me so much.
Cleveland Live: Trent wants to know about what kind of player Lamond Murray is and what can he bring to the team?
Bob Sura: He's a great scorer. He brings points to the three position. You haven't heard much of him because he was with the Clippers.
Cleveland Live: A fan notes that your favorite foods are steak, lobster and chicken wings. Where do you like to go in the Cleveland area for a good steak or lobster dinner?
Bob Sura: BW3 for wings... Morton's for steak. They have the best in town.
Cleveland Live: A fan wants to know who talks the most trash in the league, and what is one of the funniest things you've heard said on the court during a game?
Bob Sura: Gary Payton is certainly the biggest trash talker...that's no secret in the league.
Cleveland Live: Jimmy wants to know about being booed last year and being cheered this year and how it's affected you?
Bob Sura: It does effect you. I wasn't healthy last year, and you can't blame the fans. It's good to have them back on my side.
Cleveland Live: DJ Dawg asks: "Who's your favorite ESPN Sportscenter anchor? Do you normally watch the team's highlights from the previous night?"
Bob Sura: Kenny Mayne is pretty funny...he has a great sense of humor.
Cleveland Live: Do you still keep in touch with Charlie Ward and Sam Cassell? How often do you guys get a chance to speak with each other?
Bob Sura: We all still talk quite a bit...we go out to eat when we visit each other's towns.
Cleveland Live: Donna wants to know what are your expectations for the Cavs this season and if you think the Cavs will make the playoffs?
Bob Sura: We've let two or three games slip away this year and had a couple slip away. If we get Z back, we could go very far in the playoffs.
Cleveland Live: A fan wants to know about his relationship with Mike Fratello? Are you glad he's not the coach anymore?
Bob Sura: We did not get along at all for a lot of years. It was very difficult for both of us to be here together.
Cleveland Live: A fan wants to know who is the best pure shooter on the team?
Bob Sura: Wesley Person has a great shot. I'd say it would have to be him.
Cleveland Live: If you didn't make it as a basketball player, did you have a backup plan in terms of a career? Did you always want to be a basketball player when you were younger or was there another occupation that appealed to you?
Bob Sura: I would probably be a truck driver back in Wilkes Barre, PA.

Cleveland Live: A fan wants to know what is Bobby's favorite type of music is?
Bob Sura: R&B and Rap, but no country...the last concert I've attended was Boys II Men.
Cleveland Live: Blue and Orange asks: "I saw Randy Wittman kidding around with Shawn Kemp as he was leaving the court last night after the win over the Wizards?he seems so loose around the players. He seems very much like the proverbial 'player's coach.' Is this assessment correct and if so, is he as laid back with yourself and the rest of the players as he seems?"
Bob Sura: He has a great relationship with everyone on the team. Everyone really respects him. It's made for a great atmosphere around here.
Cleveland Live: A fan wants to know with Michael Jordan now retired, who do you think is the best player in the NBA right now?
Bob Sura: Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett. Alan Iverson also is way up there.

Cleveland Live: That's all the time we have for today's Cavs chat. We'd like to give props to Bob Sura for taking the time and joining us today. Stay tuned to Cleveland Live for a transcript of today's chat and information about future chats. In the meantime, go Cavs!

Cavs don't need a lot to win
As Magic watches, Cleveland stops Bulls 107-93. Sura leads the way by scoring 29 points
BY CHRIS TOMASSON
Beacon Journal staff writer

There was Showtime in the stands last night, but not much on the court.
With former Lakers star Magic Johnson on hand, the Cavaliers did only what was necessary in defeating the hapless Chicago Bulls 107-93 at Gund Arena.
Johnson, co-owner and vice president of the Lakers, is in the Cleveland area this week to open a movie theater. The biggest cheers from the crowd of 11,226, the second-smallest in the six-year history of Gund Arena, came whenever Johnson's face was shown on the video board.
It was eight years ago that Chicago defeated Johnson's Lakers to win the first of their six titles of the 1990s. But the Bulls (1-15) have a chance this season to go down as the worst team in NBA history.
``I was telling my friend at the game, `I don't know anybody (on the Bulls) other than Will Perdue and B.J. (Armstrong),' '' Johnson said. ``I said, `Wow, times have changed fast.' ''
For a while in the first half, the Bulls actually gave Johnson a game to watch. They led 31-29 early in the second period, and the score was tied 35-35 with 4:29 left in the half.
But the Cavs (9-8) closed the half with a 23-7 run to take a 58-42 lead entering the locker room. Guard Bob Sura, who led the Cavs with 29 points, one short of his career high, scored 12 during the run.
``Bobby's spurt gave us a good cushion going in at halftime,'' Cavs coach Randy Wittman. ``Overall, I was pleased with our effort. Sometimes it's tough going up against a team that is struggling.''
A big lead at halftime usually is not good news for the Cavs, who have spent the season watching games get away in the third period. But, remember, these are the Bulls.
The Cavs were outscored in the third period 25-21, and their lead was trimmed to 79-67. But the Bulls never got closer than 12 in the fourth period.
``It's a little strange looking at their red uniforms now,'' said Wittman, who didn't see the Bulls last season when he was a Minnesota assistant. ``It wasn't long ago that they were what everyone was striving to reach.''
It also wasn't long ago that Sura was a struggling player. But he had 24 points in the first half, the most by a Cav in a half since Wesley Person put up 25 against Toronto March 4, 1998. He tied his career high with five 3-pointers.
As the seconds ticked away at the end of the game, the fans were yelling for Sura to try to top his career high of 30, set Feb. 14, 1998, against Milwaukee. Instead, he dribbled out the clock.
``You don't ever want to embarrass another team,'' Sura said. ``We've got to play that team a few more times this season. You don't want to do anything like that.''
Sura's effort still was good enough to get him a post-game interview on FOX Sports Net. Sura's talk with Van Earl Wright was beamed coast-to-coast.
``He kind of said it was a night off for every team when you play the Bulls,'' Sura said. ``I had to disagree. They fought hard and gave us a pretty good tussle.''
The Bulls played the Cavs tough enough to hold forward Shawn Kemp to sub-40-percent shooting. Then again, just about every team is doing that this season.
Kemp, who scored 21 points on 4-of-12 shooting, is 12-of-41 over the last three games. He's now shooting 37.9 percent for the season.
Overall, the news wasn't great for the Cavs on the front line. Forward Lamond Murray missed the game with the flu, and was replaced in starting lineup by Person. Reserve forward Mark Bryant strained a right quad tendon in the second period, and didn't return. That led to rookie A.J. Bramlett playing nine minutes, and he went scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting.
But there were no problems in the backcourt. Not only did Sura shoot 12-of-19, but also Brevin Knight was 7-of-9 and scored 18 points.
``I thought their guard play was the difference in the game,'' said Bulls coach Tim Floyd, also giving credit to Person, who had 14 points in 42 minutes at small forward and shooting guard. ``We didn't have any answers for them. Those guys were outstanding. They made open shots. They created for each other.''
It hurt the Bulls when guard Hersey Hawkins was lost three minutes into the game with a strained left calf. The Bulls already were without injured frontcourt starters Elton Brand and Toni Kukoc.
The starters Chicago used combined for a paltry 35 points. Sura almost outscored those five by himself.

Sura stops at 29 against pitiful Chicago
Thursday, December 09, 1999
By MARY SCHMITT BOYER
PLAIN DEALER REPORTER

Bob Sura had the ball at half court as the clock ticked down. He already had 29 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers. The Gund Arena fans were chanting for him to shoot one more, and it was oh so tempting.
But the Cavaliers guard just grinned and dribbled out the clock in the Cavaliers' 107-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
"You don't ever want to embarrass the other team," Sura said.
The Bulls are doing that all by themselves. Last night's loss to the Cavaliers was their 10th straight and they fell to an NBA-worst 1-15 overall, 0-10 on the road.
That made them particularly dangerous for the impressionable young Cavs.
"They're certainly not the Bulls we were used to seeing," Sura said. "They don't have the big names anymore. But like Randy [Wittman, Cavs coach- said before the game, every guy on that team is an NBA player."
After watching them last night, that's debatable. Coach Tim Floyd has had to deal with a rash of injuries, but the Cavs have had their own problems in that area. Starting small forward Lamond Murray missed the game with the flu (don't tell Orlando Brown) and backup power forward Mark Bryant left the game in the second quarter with a strained right quadriceps, in addition to his bad back and bad left shoulder.
Sura took up the slack for almost everybody with 24 points in the first half.
He had 12 points in the first quarter as the Cavs built an 18-8 lead. Of course, this being the Cavs, they were tied at 27 at the end of the first quarter, and they actually trailed, 31-29, early in a horrible second period. But Sura bailed them out with 12 more points in the second, all of them coming in a 21-7 blitz in the final 4:11 when the Cavs rebuilt their lead to 58-42.
"We hit a little lull in the second quarter, and I made some plays to build the lead back up," said Sura, whose 29 points were one shy of his career high and who had seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocked shots as the Cavs improved to 9-8. "I had it going and carried us a little bit, but other guys had it going, too."
Shawn Kemp made just 4-of-12 field goals, but made 13-of-18 free throws and had seven rebounds. Brevin Knight added 18 points, while Andrew DeClercq had 12 rebounds. Wesley Person, who got his first start of the season while replacing Murray, had 14 points, five assists and two steals.
The guard trio made things especially tough on the Bulls, who lost defensive specialist Hersey Hawkins with a strained left calf early in the game.
"I thought their guard play was the difference in the game tonight," Floyd said. "We didn't have any answers for them."
But the Cavs may have found an answer for their third-quarter fades - starting off with some full-court pressure to get them into the game at the start of the second half.
"When Bob and I went into the locker room at the half, I said, "Bob, let's get up. Let's do what we did to start the game, try to get some turnovers and get out and run,' " Knight said. "That's what we did."
The Cavs played that way until the final seconds, when Sura somehow managed to restrain himself - but just barely.
"When they tried to steal it, I almost went [toward the basket-," he said, smiling. "If there were a couple more seconds, I might have."

Magician Sura's reappearing act
On way to Orlando, Cavs guard dresses for success
BY CHRIS TOMASSON
Beacon Journal staff writer
The Cavaliers might have been heading for Disney World, but Bob Sura looked as if he were bound for Hollywood.
Before getting on the plane yesterday to Orlando, where the Cavs will face the Magic tonight, Sura was decked out in a pair of designer Gucci sunglasses, a slick black shirt and had a rather bulky chain around his neck.
``Just a little silver,'' said Sura in his Joe Namath-soundalike voice.
Sura's play lately has been golden. In two games as the starting shooting guard, Sura is averaging 14 points while shooting 4-of-8 from 3-point range and 8-of-8 from the foul line.
To understand how impressive those numbers are, consider what Sura did last season. He averaged 4.3 points while shooting 20 percent on 3-pointers and 63.1 percent from the foul line. His field-goal percentage of 33.3 lowered his career mark to 40.2, the worst in team history.
``He had a down season,'' Cavs forward Shawn Kemp said. ``His confidence level was down. You can only get booed so many times. Sooner or later, you're going to come fighting back. That's what Bobby did.''
Many of Sura's problems stemmed from an injury to his left ankle suffered in an October 1997 preseason game. Sura underwent surgery in August 1998, and it took a long time before he got his explosiveness back.
Sura's foot started to feel much better last summer. And when Cavs coach Mike Fratello was fired in June, Sura's head started to feel better.
``It wasn't a good relationship,'' Cavs point guard Brevin Knight said. ``It wasn't good for either one of them, especially for Bobby as a player. It wasn't a good situation for him. . . . Now, when he plays, he doesn't have to look over his shoulder or get into it with coach.''
Sura's desire to play an open-floor game and Fratello's preference to reign in his players wasn't a good mix. And when Sura wasn't playing well, Fratello was quick to bury him on the bench.
Enter Randy Wittman as Fratello's replacement. He installed an up-tempo offense and vowed to give Sura a chance.
``It was like being traded and not having to sell my house,'' said Sura, a five-year veteran who did play well in his first two seasons when Fratello was head coach.
Wittman did not watch tape on his new players. He wiped the slate clean and declared all starting jobs were up for grabs.
It was thought the real battles would be at point guard between Knight and Andre Miller (Knight won easily) and at small forward between Lamond Murray and Cedric Henderson (decided when Murray was injured). If there was to be any battle at shooting guard, many believed it would be rookie Trajan Langdon pushing incumbent Wesley Person.
But Sura emerged as the surprise of training camp. His name was called in pregame introductions in the opener last Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
``Everybody had an opportunity to come in and show me what they could do, and that's what happened,'' Wittman said. ``(Sura is) very confident and playing with high energy. He gives us toughness on defense, and offensively he can run the floor and get into seams in the defense in the open floor.''
In the opener at New York, Sura had 15 points, eight assists and five steals. In Wednesday's home opener against New Jersey, Sura heard cheers at Gund Arena for the first time in a while. His shooting was a bit off at 2-of-7, but he had 13 points, seven assists and three steals.
``Boos can happen to anybody,'' Sura said. ``Playing well takes care of it. I thought that if I was healthy, I was going to compete for a starting job. I've got my explosiveness back.''
He also doesn't have to look over his shoulder whenever he makes an error. Sura missed two layups in the waning moments Wednesday, but on neither occasion did Wittman consider taking him out.
Person has made noise about wanting back in the starting lineup, but it doesn't look as if Sura's going to give up his job anytime soon. Sura is a better all-around player and, heck, right now he's even shooting 3-pointers better than Person.
``Hopefully, I'll continue to play well and keep the job,'' Sura said. ``If not, he'll take it back. But I'm comfortable now as the starting shooting guard.''
And, considering the way he was decked out yesterday, Sura is very comfortable on the team plane.

Cavaliers Have a Sura Thing
By Rob Reheuser 

The title "Most Improved Player" doesn't seem to befit a player of Bob Sura's basketball pedigree. In 1995, he left Florida State as the only player in ACC history to amass 2000 points, 700 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals.
Bob Sura is looking like a front-runner for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award. (AP Photo)
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Drafted by Cleveland in the first round of the 1995 draft (17th overall), Sura's offensive-minded style didn't blend well with former head coach Mike Fratello's defensive philosophy. In his first four seasons, Sura struggled to find minutes and was often hampered by injury.
But lately, Sura has resembled the player many watched dominate the ACC from 1991 through 1995. Through 21 games as a starter, he is averaging 15.4 ppg, playing a career-high 32.9 mpg and looks to be in the running for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award.
"Right now I'm playing with a lot more confidence," Sura said. "I've kind of always thought that I had the ability to do some things and now I'm getting the chance to show it."
Sura credits much of his resurgence to Randy Wittman, who the Cavs hired to replace Fratello over the summer. Wittman has implemented an up-tempo game, more suited to Sura's talents.
"The new style is more up and down and wide open," Sura said. "Randy allows us to do the things we're capable of doing."
More importantly, Wittman has given Sura the freedom to make mistakes and the chance to make up for them out on the floor.
"Now I'm getting the chance to play a lot of minutes and when I make a mistake, I can correct it throughout the course of a game," Sura said. "In the past, I haven't been able to do that."
For his patience, Wittman has been rewarded with consistent play from Sura, who along with Brevin Knight and Andre Miller make up one of the youngest and most talented backcourts in the league.
"This is a style that fits (Sura's) game," Wittman said. "Right now Bobby's doing some great things for us."
Sura has improved his outside shooting, the result of hours spent over the summer in preparation for a new season with renewed expectations. He has also taken advantage of new rules changes that have freed up players who have the ability to get open.
And while the notion of winning the Most Improved Player Award seems a little odd considering his background, Sura will gladly accept it.
"I guess it means you've had a bad year somewhere along the way," Sura said. "But I'll take it because it means I'm headed in the right direction."

Sura vents after Cavs lose
Guard says Cleveland has enough talent to win a lot, can't understand why it remains just a .500 team
BY CHRIS TOMASSON
Beacon Journal staff writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C.: The Cavaliers have a six-time All-Star in Shawn Kemp, the leading candidate for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award in Bob Sura and several other steady performers. But they're nothing more than a .500 team.
Sura wonders why.
``With the talent we have, we should be way over .500,'' he said following last night's 99-86 loss to the Hornets at the Charlotte Coliseum. That dropped the Cavs' record to 11-11, including 2-8 on the road. The Cavs have never been more than two games over .500 this season.
``We're not a good team,'' Sura said. ``We're a .500 team. We've got to learn to play hard. If we don't, we're going to be an average team or worse.
``Everybody's got to look in the mirror and see what we can do to help the team . . . There are a lot of areas we've got to improve on when you're a .500 team . . . Teams just come out and punch us in the mouth and we don't respond.''
Once again, the knockout blow came in the third period. The Cavs have been awful coming out of the locker room this season, having been outscored by an average of 6.7 points in the third period.
The ugly tune last night was 29-15. The Hornets led 46-45 at halftime before blowing the Cavs away in the third to take a 75-60 lead.
The Cavs might be a young team, but the biggest faux pas of the period was made by their oldest player. Forward Mark Bryant, 34, picked up two technicals with 4:27 left in the third period, and was ejected.
``That was very stupid on my part,'' Bryant said. ``We were short-handed. I should have walked away. That was a bad move on my part. I take the blame for that.''
If definitely wasn't one of the better moves of Bryant's 12-year career. The Cavs, who have been without center Zydrunas Ilgauskas all season, also were without forward Danny Ferry, who missed his third straight game with a strained left calf. That left the Cavs extremely short-handed going against one of the bigger front lines in the NBA.
Bryant was upset about an offensive call that was assessed on him with 4:35 left in the period and the Cavs trailing 64-53. He soon approached official Rodney Mott.
"`I said to the ref, `It was a horrible call,' '' Bryant said. `` `You made a terrible call.' ''
That was the first technical. Then Bryant said something else.
``I don't recall what it was, but I know I didn't curse at him,'' he said. ``But that was definitely stupid.''
Cavs coach Randy Wittman came to the defense of his veteran.
``The guy needs to walk away,'' said Wittman, referring to Mott. ``Mark was just standing there. I heard the whole thing. I was shocked he got thrown out. The same thing was said to him by one of (Charlotte's) players later in the game. He said he didn't hear it. It's tough when you have select hearing.''
It's doubtful, though, that saving Bryant would have saved the Cavs. The Hornets (15-7) looked at times as if they were cruising, yet they were never in any danger of losing.
Reserve swingman Bobby Phills led the way with 19 points against his former team. Guard Eddie Jones had 14 of his 17 points in the second half.
The Cavs' problem was offense.
The Cavs shot 38 percent and needed a late surge to get past their season-low of 83 points. Kemp and Lamond Murray each had 15 points, but Kemp shot 6-of-18, and Murray was 6-of-16. Sura had 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
``In the third quarter, we missed some key shots,'' Wittman said. ``They, on the other hand, made their big shots.''
Both teams, though, got in shots of another kind near the end of the game. With 1:29 left, Sura fouled Phills hard on a drive to the basket.
Thirty-five seconds later, Charlotte guard Baron Davis retaliated by fouling Sura hard on a drive. Davis was assessed a technical.
``I'm proud of him,'' Phills said. ``I'll pay his fine if he gets one. Baron did the right thing.''
Davis and Sura had little to say about the incident. But Sura had plenty to say about the state of the Cavs.

Cavaliers 117, Bucks 112
CLEVELAND (AP) — Bob Sura wasn't going to be fooled. He had probably seen Sam Cassell make the same move a thousand times before.
Sura stripped the ball from Cassell, his former college teammate with 1.1 seconds remaining Saturday night, to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 117-112 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I was teasing Bobby that he's been watching me," said Cavs guard Brevin Knight. "It's about time he learned to do that. Seriously, that was a great defensive play. It was the game right there."
Shawn Kemp's two free throws put the Cavs up 114-112 with 6.2 seconds left before the Bucks called a timeout to set up a play. Cassell took the inbounds pass and attempted to drive the right side of the lane on Sura, his backcourt mate while at Florida State.
But Sura didn't allow Cassell to get off a shot, and the ball went out of bounds off the Bucks guard.
Sura left before reporters could ask him about the play after the game.
Cassell had plenty to say, though.
"I know I was fouled but the ref didn't see it that way. No way was that a clean steal," he said. "It takes a big-time referee to step up and make a call like that. I'm not knocking Bob. I think he did a tremendous job out there, but that's a call that's supposed to be made."
Milwaukee was then whistled for technical foul for delay of game and Knight made the free throw to put Cleveland up 115-112. Knight then made two more free throws in the final second to ice the win.
The Bucks, playing their third game in four nights, were not pleased with much of the officiating.
"It was a crazy refereed game," said Bucks coach George Karl. "Too many free throws (88), too many stoppages in play. You can't blame the referees. But it was a wild refereed game on both sides."
Sura had 23 points and Knight had 18 and 12 assists for the Cavs, who outran the NBA's second-highest scoring team. Kemp finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"Wow!" said first-year Cavs coach Randy Wittman. "I'm really pleased with that after our lackluster effort that we had versus Seattle."
Glenn Robinson led the Bucks with 32 points, but had eight turnovers. Ray Allen and Cassell added 22 points apiece.
But it was Cleveland's bench that was the difference in a game that featured 11 lead changes and 12 ties, including three in the final five minutes. The Cavs reserves outscored Milwaukee's 50-25, and Cleveland got big contributions from Andrew DeClercq and Cedric Henderson down the stretch.
Wittman replaced Henderson in the starting lineup after the small forward began the season 2-for-22 from the floor. But Henderson finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and hit a clutch shot with 1:09 left.
"He was a little bit Ced of old and that was good," Wittman said. "He made a big, big shot down the stretch."
Robinson's 3-pointer gave the Bucks 108-105 lead, and with Kemp on the bench after picking up a technical foul, the Cavs looked to be in big trouble.
But DeClercq came in and had a monstrous one-handed dunk followed by a two-hander underneath off a nice pass from Knight to put Cleveland up 109-108 with 2:46 remaining.
However, Cassell answered with a 3-pointer on Milwaukee's next trip.
Henderson's 16-foot jumper put Cleveland back ahead, and after Kemp blocked Cassell's shot down low, Henderson put the Cavs up 112-110 with a free throw.
Allen hit a 10-footer to tie it at 112, but Kemp was fouled on a putback to set up his decisive free throws.
When Allen picked up his fifth foul and went to the bench with the Bucks trailing by 11 in the third quarter, Cassell took it upon himself to bring the Bucks back.
He scored eight points during an 11-2 run capped by Haywoode Workman's 3-pointer from the corner that gave Milwaukee an 83-82 lead after three.
Looking to run whenever they could, the Cavs got some easy fastbreak layups in the first half as Milwaukee was slow getting back on defense.
Sura found a slashing Andre Miller with a behind-the-back pass for a layup to give the Cavs a 60-44 lead with 1:26 left before halftime.
Notes: Mark Price, the NBA's career leader in free throw percentage, had his No. 25 jersey retired by the Cavs during halftime ceremonies. ... Cavs swingman Wesley Person did not dress because of a stomach virus. ... The Cavs have won three straight over the Bucks at Gund Arena.

CAVS 117, BUCKS 112
Beating Milwaukee a Sura thing

Resurgent guard scores 23 points, comes up with key defensive play to preserve Cleveland victory
BY CHRIS TOMASSON
Beacon Journal staff writer
There's something about Bob Sura that turns Milwaukee into sitting Bucks.
Two seasons ago, when the Cavaliers guard was injured and not doing much, he still managed to score 30 points against Milwaukee.
Last night, he put up 23 as the Cavs defeated the Bucks 117-112 before a crowd of 18,640 at Gund Arena.
But it was a defensive play by Sura that clinched the game. With the Cavs leading 114-112, Sura stripped the ball from Milwaukee guard Sam Cassell, his former Florida State teammate, on Cassell's drive to the basket with 1.1 seconds left.
``Bobby made a hell of a play,'' Cavs coach Randy Wittman said. ``I had a great look. I thought they were going to call jump ball. He pinned the ball and then it came loose off Cassell. It was a great defensive stand.''
The Cavs (4-2) clinched the game with three free throws as the crowd roared its approval.
Nobody was more excited than Wittman, who was jumping for joy after the win and had a huge grin in the interview room.
``Wow,'' Wittman said. ``Obviously, I'm thrilled to death by this win.''
It was a thrilling night all around. At halftime, the Cavs retired the No. 25 jersey Mark Price wore from 1986-95.
It only was appropriate on this night that guards stole the show. Cavs point guard Brevin Knight certainly made Price proud with 18 points and 12 assists. Milwaukee (4-3) got 22 points each from its two guards, Cassell and Ray Allen, although forward Glenn Robinson did not disappoint with a game-high 32 points.
It was a high-scoring game that conjured up memories of the NBA in the 1970s.
The only thing that was missing was short shorts.
``A lot of people were here, so we wanted to come out and give them a show,'' Knight said. ``I think they definitely got a show.''
The highlight of the second period came when Sura made a beautiful behind-the-back pass to Andre Miller for a layup. In the fourth period, Cavs center Andrew DeClercq got the crowd on its feet with a pair of thunderous dunks.
The first got the Cavs within 108-107 with 3:42 left. The second put the Cavs up 109-108 with 2:08 remaining.
``We know we have to play hard every possession to stay in games,'' DeClercq said. ``We had a real fight on our hands.''
At least this time, the Cavs came to battle with a well-armed Cedric Henderson. Remember Henderson, the Cav small forward who not long ago couldn't make a shot?
Henderson, who shot 2-of-22 in the first five games, was benched in favor of Danny Ferry. But Henderson shot a fine 5-of-9 off the bench for 12 points and looked like a new man down the stretch.
``This has been a hard thing for me,'' Wittman said of having to bench Henderson. ``I have not quit believing in him . . . I thought he played much more relaxed.''
With 1:09 left, Henderson drilled a jumper from the top of the key to put the Cavs up 111-110. He then hit 1-of-2 free throws with 36.2 seconds left to make it 112-110. Allen made an eight-foot jumper to tie the score 112-112 with 25.9 seconds left. Cavs forward Shawn Kemp then made two foul shots with 6.2 seconds left, setting the stage for Cassell's drive to the basket.
``I know I was (fouled), but the ref didn't see it that way,'' Cassell said. ``If (Sura) got the ball clean, I'm a man enough where I could say, `Well, he made a good defensive play on the ball.' No way was that a clean steal.''
It was a bittersweet ending for Cassell, who was the key to Milwaukee's comeback from a 16-point, second-period deficit. Cassell scored 18 points in the second half, including 10 during a pivotal Milwaukee run in the third period.
The Cavs looked to have the game well in hand when they extended a 62-52 halftime lead to 76-63 with 8:01 left in the third. But then Cassell took over.
The Bucks closed the third period with a 20-6 run to take an 83-82 lead. Cassell had three jumpers of 15 feet or more during the run.
``We got in a situation where they made some shots and we started standing around,'' Wittman said. ``We didn't push it. We just stood and played right into their hands.''
In the frenzied fourth period, when the teams combined for 64 points, nobody was standing around. On second thought, there was at least one who was.
With the game on the line, Sura stood his ground.



By Basketball News
As published in print Dec. 6, 1999
Every time you look up and see Bobby Sura execute another sweet pass or drop another fastbreak trey, you think he’s going to fall off the cliff. But the fact is, Sura—who hit career lows across the board last season and scored only 4.3 ppg—has rarely had an off game this year. Early in the season, swingman Wesley Person talked about winning back the job Sura stole from him, but there’s no way that’s going to happen with Sura averaging 15.3 points and popping .439 from the arc through Dec. 6. The secret of Sura’s resurgence? He’s told one of our sources that it’s nothing more than the fact he’s healthy and confident. An interesting wrinkle to a season where even Sura himself acknowledges he’s the frontrunner for the Most Improved Player Award: Sura entered this season shooting .402, the worst percentage in Cleveland history. Sura’s success so far means the new bottom-feeder in the record book is former Cav and self-professed superstar Derek Anderson, at .404.

Sura's Start Catches Some Off Guard
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Last season, Bob Sura was booed nearly every time he touched the ball at home.
It seemed he couldn't do anything right. Any forced shot or turnover meant an immediate benching by coach Mike Fratello and a chorus of boos inside Gund Arena.
But this season, there isn't another player in the NBA enjoying a bigger turnaround than Sura. Right now, he'd be a lock for the league's Most Improved Player award.
``Huh, I never really thought about that,'' Sura said. ``I guess I might be the leader.''
Sura's statistics are up, and so is his confidence.
Entering Friday night's game at Indiana, Sura was averaging 15.9 points — 11.6 points higher than his average in 1998-99 — and he ranks among the league leaders in steals.
Sura has also added a new weapon to his offensive game, the 3-pointer. He's made at least one in 16 of the Cavs' 17 games, and his 35 treys are seven more than he had in his previous two seasons combined.
On Tuesday night, he scored 24 points in the first half and finished with 29 in a win over Chicago.
Big deal, it's just the Bulls, right? Well, even Chicago's players noticed a transformation in Sura.
``He's not the same Bob Sura as last year,'' Bulls guard Randy Brown said. ``He's a different player.''
Sura has his swagger back for sure. The 26-year-old is finally fully recovered from a serious ankle injury suffered in 1997-98, and is seeing the rewards of an offseason spent running, lifting weights and shooting hundreds of jump shots everyday.
``He's put a lot into this,'' Cavs first-year coach Randy Wittman said. ``It's not like something just happened. He's put in a lot of work.''
Sura's game has blossomed under Wittman, hired in July after Fratello was fired.
Wittman's offensive philosophy is uptempo, perfectly suiting the athletic Sura's game. Under Fratello, the Cavs walked the ball up the floor and played every possession as if it were their last. It cramped Sura's style.
Now, he's able to push the ball up the floor and even if there isn't a teammate under the boards, Wittman has told Sura that if he's open, go ahead and shoot. ``He's getting out on the break. He's running,'' Wittman said. ``And when he's getting into the flow and understands good shots and bad shots and doesn't force things, he's very effective. He's shooting the ball with a lot of confidence.''
Sura chooses his words carefully when speaking of Fratello. It's no secret the two weren't always on the same page, but Sura is too nice to knock anybody.
Still, he admits Wittman's arrival has allowed him to relax on the floor.
``That's a big part of it,'' Sura said. ``Being yanked in and out in a game when you make a mistake kind of messes with your confidence. Randy was a player. He understands what it's about and what players go through. So it's been a big plus for a lot of us.''
As the final seconds ticked down against the Bulls, Sura had the ball at mid-court needing a basket to set a career scoring high. Instead, he dribbled out the clock while some of the same fans who booed his every move last season pleaded for him to shoot.
Sura heard them.
``It's no question that they're back,'' he said.
So is he.

Nets' game plan: shut down Sura
Friday, December 17, 1999
By MARY SCHMITT BOYER
PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
An interesting trend seems to be developing with the Cavaliers.
When Shawn Kemp scores more than 20 points, the team is 7-4. When Bob Sura scores more than 20 points, the Cavs are 4-1.
Stopping Sura was a key component in Nets coach Don Casey's game plan on Wednesday, when Sura had just eight points in the Cavs' 111-101 loss at New Jersey.
"The fact that Sura never got off in the first quarter is a big reason why we won," Casey said, "and the fact that [Kerry- Kittles was guarding him was a big reason why that was possible."
When Sura gets going early, the Cavs do feed off his energy - not to mention the points he puts up. On Wednesday, he didn't score in the first half.
"I certainly didn't help us tonight," he said after the game. "They had a concentrated effort not to leave me open. I didn't have one open shot the whole game. They wouldn't leave me alone at all."
Unfortunately for Sura and the Cavs, that's likely to happen again given his 44 percent shooting from 3-point range.

"Nice" Cavs fed up
Sura says the team needs to get tough
Monday, December 20, 1999
By BURT GRAEFF
PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
Cavaliers guard Bob Sura says that maybe it's time to hurt some feelings. Maybe it's time for someone on this often listless team to step forward and do some on-the-court barking.
The Cavaliers, who face the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight in Gund Arena, have lost three straight, and four of the last six. The four losses were by a combined 98 points, the latest a 98-74 ignominious defeat to the Nets at home on Saturday night.
"I think that one of our problems is that we are too nice to each other," Sura said. "All of us get along together. No one wants to yell at each other.
"It's like we're afraid to say anything to each other when things are not going right on the court."
The solution? "We've got to stop being so nice," Sura said. "We need to be tougher on each other. It's like everyone is afraid to say anything. We need someone to step up and get on some butts out there on the floor."
Sura is in his fifth NBA season. Why not him? "I could do it," he said. "So could Brevin [Knight-, so could Shawn [Kemp-. I was hard on my teammates in college [Florida State-.
"The point is, someone has to do it."
The 13,225 who showed up on Saturday night witnessed some dreadful basketball, particularly in the second half when the Cavaliers had more turnovers (12) than field goals (11) while being outscored, 52-31.
"We're professionals," Sura said. "We make a lot of money. There is no excuse for playing like we did."
It was a game in which Kemp continued a recent trend of pumping up 18-foot jump shots rather than working inside, Knight could not find the basket in seven tries from the field, Lamond Murray (four points, four rebounds) was anchored to the bench for 28 minutes because of foul trouble, and defense, in general, was merely a rumor.
"We have gotten caught up in running and scoring points," Knight said. "We've got to get back to playing defense. Right now, we can't worry about who we're playing.
"We've got to worry about ourselves. Right now, any team we play can beat us. We're not playing hard enough, and we're not playing well enough."
Elder statesman Danny Ferry, who is in his 10th year with the Cavaliers, agreed with Knight that defense has taken a back seat to scoring points. "We've had a lot of slippage defensively," said Ferry, who is sidelined for at least 10 days after reinjuring his left calf against the Nets.
"We're not rotating defensively. And, for whatever reason, if we do make mistakes, we are letting ourselves get discouraged. We haven't been a mentally tough team.
"Until we learn to deal with the ups and downs associated with a season, we will continue to play up and down."

Dec. 7 — Cavs shooting guard Bob Sura is an early contender for this year's Most Improved Player award.
        Last season, he averaged a career-low 4.3 points per game and shot .333 from the field and .200 from the three-point line. Ouch!
    Through 15 games this season, he's averaging 15.3 points, 4.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.67 steals per game. He's also shooting a career-high .462 from the field and .439 from behind the arc.
        Cavs coach Randy Wittman said he's not surprised. Sura is one of the team's hardest workers and works his shooting before and after almost every practice.
        Wittman's up-tempo attack has benefited Sura more than any player on the team. He routinely scores several layups and was also ranked 17th in the NBA in three-point percentage after Sunday.
        Sura's confidence level is sky high. When things are going well for him, he's a very productive player. When he's in the dumps, his productivity drops off considerably. . . .

FROM ACC STARDOM TO THE NBA BENCH
The transition for other NBA rookies has been a bit more difficult due to lack of playing time.
One player adjusting to change is Florida State product Bob Sura, who was selected 17th in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers last June.
Sura is averaging 4.1 points and 2.5 assists per game for the Cavaliers. He started out the season as the Cavs' backup point guard, and provided spark off the bench in the early going.
When Sura was switched to off-guard in December, his game suffered. In recent weeks, Cavalier coach Mike Fratello has alternated Sura between both positions.
Sura has struggled with his shot in Cleveland, shooting just 22 percent from three-point land, 63 percent from the charity stripe and 39 percent overall. Most of Sura's points this season have come when he has attacked the basket.
"There are a lot of rookies, when they come in, if you check what their field goal percentage is, it's down," Fratello said. "Some of it is when to shoot, when it's a good shot and when it's not - relaxing and confidence, all of that.
"All of that will come. There's no question he'll be a better shooter from the field and free throw line as he matures."
Sura began to show positive signs in the Cavs' final two games before the All-Star break, when he averaged 10.5 points, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals. During All-Star weekend, Sura was a member of the East squad in the Schick rookie game.
Fratello is still very high on Sura.
"He's a player, no matter how you want to categorize him as a one or two," he said. "He's a good-size guard that has explosiveness and scoring ability."

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