ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Cleveland Cavaliers used a balanced team effort to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 116-104. All-Star Forward LeBron James had a triple-double with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists to lead Cleveland in the victory. Cleveland had 7 players in double-figures in scoring. The loss is the Magic’s fourth in the last five games.
“It [having 7 players in double-figures] is awesome. It makes the game a lot easier for all of us to play and have the ball hopping like that. I felt like we definitely could have had a few more assists with the good shots and good looks we had tonight, but sometimes it just happens that way.” – Cavaliers Guard Kyrie Irving on Cleveland’s team effort
Orlando started off the game by using defense to carry them to a 25-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. Outside of Iman Shumpert’s 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting, the rest of the Cleveland team shot 4 for 16 as a team and 1 for 7 from beyond the arc. Terrance Ross lead the Magic with 9 points and capped it off with a thunderous slam dunk that got the crowd on its feet.
After the hot start, Cleveland took control of the game in the second quarter. Sparked by getting 18 points from their bench, the Cavaliers took a 59-51 lead. Former Orlando Magic sharpshooter Channing Frye scored 8 of his 10 points in the quarter and knocked down two 3-pointers as they shot 13 for 19 as a team from the floor.
The third quarter started off with Orlando cutting the lead down to three at 61-58, but that would be the closest they would get for the rest of the game. Kyrie Irving scored 13 of his 22 points in the second half and the Cavaliers held the Magic to 19 percent shooting from the 3-point line (They shot 4 for 21).
“I think we played Cavalier basketball tonight. What has been our Achilles heel for us has been our defensive three-point percentage and we did a great job of getting out to their shooters and contesting a lot of their threes.” – LeBron James on Cleveland’s three-point defense
Orlando played with more fire on Saturday after losing by 40 to Atlanta one night before. They were led by Nikola Vucevic, who scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in his first game back after missing the last 4 games with an Achilles injury. Aaron Gordon had another solid game, scoring 16 points, and Evan Fournier had 15 for the Magic.
“We had a much better competitive spirit about us tonight than we did last night. I am disappointed that we fell short ’cause I felt like our guys deserved a victory for competing the way they did. I thought they really brought it and gave everything they had but we just fell short.” – Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel
The Magic will go on the road for the next three games next week as the NCAA Tournament will be at the Amway Center starting on Thursday. The road trip includes games against Sacramento, Golden State and Phoenix. They will return home March 20th, when they play the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m.
Points of Interest:
- This was James’s 51st career triple-double and his 2nd against the Magic
- Elfrid Payton had 8 points on 4 of 16 shooting, but he had 10 rebounds and 6 assists for Orlando
- Orlando won the fast break points battle by the score of 21 to 8
Danny Thompson is a contributing sports reporter for Florida National News. He can also be found over at NBA Full Court Press Radio.