The Orlando Magic got back on the right track with a 100-84 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday evening.
Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Antawn Jamison had 21 points to lead the Cavs.
It was a strange night for the Magic. Both teams were absolutely awful on the offensive end in the first half. Orlando took a 43-30 lead into the break but shot just over 38% in the first half. They held the Cavaliers to just under 29% shooting. After Cleveland scored the last seven points on the first half to cut a 20-point Magic lead to 13, both teams had huge third quarters, scoring 31 and 30 points, respectively. However, Orlando took that 14-point lead into the fourth quarter and cruised to victory.
For the game, Orlando shot 45.6% from the field and made 11 three-pointers while turning the ball over six times. If the Magic are going to continue to compete while the injuries mount, having a low turnover-rate will be key. For the game, the Cavs shot just 37.6% from the field.
After just seven minutes, Glen Davis left the game with a right knee sprain. With Davis scoring six points and grabbing two boards in those seven minutes and no other center on the Orlando roster, it looked the Magic might be in big trouble. However, oft-criticized and little-utilized Daniel Orton stepped up, scoring 11 points, grabbing four rebounds, recording five steals and blocking three shots in just 29 minutes of action. It was easily a career-night for the second-year big man out of Kentucky. Earl Clark joined the fun, scoring 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field in 24 minutes.
Yes, Daniel Orton and Earl Clark both scored in double figures and helped lead the Magic victory. That isn’t a typo.
While Orlando’s normal shooting guards, Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick added 16 and 13 points, if you want to find a hero in Sunday’s game, you have to look to Jameer Nelson. Nelson had one of his best all-ar0und games, stuffing the stat-sheet with 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while shooting 8-of-14 from the floor.
- Ryan Anderson had just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting, but made a huge contribution on the glass, pulling down 13 rebounds.
- Chris Duhon saw action instead of Ish Smith. He scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting and only had two assists, but did not turn the ball over in 19 minutes.
- The other bench players to see action were Quentin Richardson (16 minutes, four points) and Von Wafer (15 minutes, two points).
- Orlando forced 18 Cleveland turnovers, resulting in 23 Magic points.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night.
Final Thought: The Magic have clinched the playoffs. Be happy with that tonight – with Howard, Turkoglu and Davis, who has led the Magic in scoring over the last six games out, the Magic got a win.
(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 onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)