The Magic came into the game without Glen Davis and J.J. Redick, and lost 119-108 on the road to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Magic are without Davis for at least two more months, while Redick is nursing a sore right shoulder and also did not play in the contest.
The Magic have seen encouraging signs from their young players but have now lost 13 straight with tonight’s loss.
It’s hard to find a lot of reason for optimism, especially when the team is surrendering 119 points to the Cavaliers, but the Magic did have three 20-plus point scorers, and saw continued improvement from their young frontline, which features two rookies (Andrew Nicholson and Maurice Harkless) and second year center Nikola Vucevic.
The Magic fell to 14-36 with the loss, while the Cleveland Cavaliers sit two games in front of the Magic with a 16-34 record. Then again, in front sounds funny when the real battle is to have the worse record and better lottery odds.
For a detailed analysis of Orlando Magic’s players’ performances, check out the post-game grades from the game.
That said, here’s a breakdown by-quarter:
The Cavs started out the game on a 7-2 run. The Magic came back and answered with a 8-4 run to pull it to 11-10, Cavs.
The Cavs were running trapping defense early in the first quarter which ignited back-to-back fast breaks, and Jacque Vaughn called for timeout with the Magic down 15-10 at the 5:35 mark of the quarter.
Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are looking great in the open floor together and the Cavs have a lot of speed on the break. Irving and Waiters are looking to gamble a lot defensively, but the Magic only have capitalized occasionally and the quarter ends at a draw.
Magic 24, Cavs 24
Marreese Speights checked into the game and was very active, attacking the basket. Speights was acquired in the trade that sent Jon Leuer to Memphis. In addition to Speights, the Cavs also acquired Johs Selby and a conditional draft pick in 2015.
Speights finished with 22 points on 3-of-13 shooting as he had his shot blocked three times and missed a couple dunks around the hoop, but he got to the line 12 times and made all of them.
The Cavs began running a zone mid-way through the quarter and it resulted in a three second violation, as it wasn’t the most well organized zone at points in the quarter.
They threatened to pull away with some more transition play and led by four with three minutes to go in the quarter, but the Magic closed it strong to tie it at the half.
Dion Waiters went 5-of-6 from the floor in the first half, four of his five buckets finishes at the rim. Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic had 15 in the first half, but Jameer Nelson shot just 1-of-6 from the floor.
Magic 56, Cavs 56
The Magic started the quarter off on a 7-4 run, but Kyrie Irving started to get things going for the Cavs in the third quarter. Irving penetrated down the middle several times to ignite other Cavs scorers and finish himself.
Irving also took Jameer Nelson down in the post, and forced the Magic into a defensive three second as Orlando bigs cheated over to help Nelson. Nelson’s defense wasn’t that bad, but Irving hit some tough shots including a tough contested jumper from the top of the key in which he was hacked but still hit it.
The Magic extended their lead as high as six points, but the Cavs closed the quarter on a 18-7 run over the final six minutes to take a five point lead into the fourth.
Cavs 85, Magic 80
The Cavs began the quarter on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to ten points, and it set the tone for what was to happen. The Magic cut it to three with four minutes to go, but the Cavs closed the game on a 15-7 run.
Marreese Speights had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, as he attacked the interior frequently in the period.
Speights also did a better job on Nikola Vucevic and did an effective job in limiting the pick and roll production that the Magic were milking from Jameer Nelson and Vuc.
Kyrie Irving may be the Cavs marquee player, but they would not have won this game if not for the play of Speights, whose second and fourth quarters came at times when the Cavs needed it.
Final Score: Cavs 119, Magic 108