Cavaliers end skid, taking the Magic out of Orlando 105-92
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Finishing a four-game homestead that they had yet to win a game during, the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Orlando Magic on Saturday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. In the end, the Cavs got a victory they desperately needed.
The Cavaliers entered Saturday’s contest riding a season-high five-game losing streak, and they had no plans of extending the skid to six games against a Magic team that arrived in Cleveland with the second-worst record in the NBA coming off a 35-point home loss the night before. In the end, the Cavs secured their first win in two weeks with a 105-92 victory over Orlando.
“I think our best basketball is ahead of us,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The more we get to play with one another, the more we get to learn one another, the more consistency we have in that lineup and rotation. It’s going to take us some time, but if our guys keep giving this effort, we’ll give ourselves a shot.”
It was the Cavs’ first of three matchups with the Magic this season, and it wasn’t pleasant to watch for those who like high-scoring games and exceptional offensive output. The Magic were dreadful offensively against Cleveland, shooting 40 percent from the field and 8-of-32 from the three-point line. Meanwhile, the Cavs shot slightly better than 45 percent from the field and 36 percent (14-of-39) from beyond the arc.
Holding an 83-75 lead with 7:50 to play in the fourth quarter, the Cavs (10-10) finally put a healthy distance between themselves and the Magic (4-17) with a quick 8-0 run after a fairly close game throughout. The spurt started with a Garland three-pointer, followed by back-to-back three-pointers from seven-footers Lauri Markkanen and Evan Mobley that put Cleveland up 91-75 less than two minutes later. Mobley’s trey gave Cleveland its largest lead of the night with 6:02 remaining, and Orlando never came within single digits again.
Orlando’s frustration with the way the game was going showed late in the fourth quarter. Wendell Carter Jr., who led the Magic with 19 points and 11 rebounds, was ejected late in the fourth quarter for arguing a non-foul call with a referee. He received two quick technicals and immediately made his way to the locker room.
With his 21st point on Saturday, Garland became the fourth-youngest Cavs player to reach 2,000 points for his career. The Cavs point guard finished with a game-high 26 points, four rebounds and 10 assists. Four other Cavaliers reached double figures in scoring, including 20 points from Markkanen and 19 points with 11 rebounds from Jarrett Allen.
Mobley returned to the Cavs lineup after a five-game absence due to a sprained elbow, and he seemed to pick up where he left off. The Cleveland rookie finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
“The sheer size of it is one thing,” Bickerstaff said about having a front court with three seven footers in Allen, Markkanen and Mobley. “It really makes the court crowded when you have those guys out there on the floor together. They have paint-protecting instincts, and they have versatility to play different actions different ways.”
Defense has been a catalyst for Cleveland the entire season, as they entered Saturday allowing the second-fewest points (103.5) in the Eastern Conference. That mark will undoubtedly go down after locking up Orlando’s offense, while the defensive effort also helped the Cavs snap a seven-game losing streak to Orlando.
The Cavs and Magic played a fairly close first half, as Cleveland took a 54-49 lead into halftime. Neither team led by more than seven points in the half, while there were five lead-changes and four times the game was tied.
The Cavs will now embark on a three-game road trip, starting in Dallas against the Mavericks on Monday.
POSTED 11/27/2021 23:56