After a 103-93 victory over the Phoenix Suns, the Orlando Magic will try to make it two straight when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night. The Cavs have lost four of their last five games, including a heartbreaking one-point overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night, dropping their record to 17-27. The Magic enter with a record of 30-18.
These two teams met on February and the Magic held off the Cavs for a 102-94 victory.
The Magic rank 17th in offensive rating (104.0), 11th in defensive rating (101.9) and play at the league’s fifth-slowest pace (89.4). The Cavs are 23rd in offensive rating (102.6) and 24th in defensive rating (106.9). Chicago plays at the 11th-fastest pace in the league (92.0).
Tip-off from the the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on FS Florida.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Monty McCutchen, Mark Ayotte and Eli Roe.
The Line: Orlando – 9.0 (192.5u)
Daniel Gibson (sprained left ankle) is questionable while Anderson Varejao remains out with a broken right wrist.
Rookie Kyrie Irving has been incredible. He’s averaging 19.0 points per game while posting a true shooting percentage of 57.1% and an effective field goal percentage of 51.9%. He’s shooting 40.5% from beyond the arc. In Irving’s last game, a one-point overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks, he had 29 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. Although he shot just 33.0% from the field in his first game against Orlando, Irving still managed to score 18 points and will present Jameer Nelson with another a tough challenege.
Forward Antawn Jamison, who is averaging 18.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game is playing much better as of late – the 13 year veteran is averaging 21.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over his last 10 games.
With Varejao out, Dwight Howard is going to be matched up with rookie Tristan Thompson, the fourth overall pick of last year’s draft. Thompson is coming off a 13-point game against Atlanta and had 27 points points and 12 rebounds in a win over the New Jersey Nets Monday. However, despite his improved play, Thompson should be in for a very long night.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HtD app here)
Topics: Alonzo Gee, Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, Chris Duhon, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Kyrie Irving, Larry Hughes, Luke Walton, Mychel Thompson, Omri Casspi, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Tristan Thompson, Von Wafer