Cavs Can't Rally Past Magic
It features the Magic hitting big three-pointers, Dwight Howard hitting big free throws and, more recently, a furious fourth-quarter comeback that falls just short for the good guys.
Friday night’s affair in Orlando had all three elements, and the Cavaliers dropped their seventh straight to the Magic, 102-94.
The Cavaliers trailed by 11 at intermission and as many as 21 in the second half. But to its credit, Cleveland mounted another fourth-quarter rally, cutting Orlando’s lead to just five with 1:48 to play. But Hedo Turkoglu canned a jumper and Dwight Howard hit three of his final four free throws to ice the win.
“I don’t know what we have to do as far as trying to bring that same rhythm that we had in the fourth quarter to the first quarter, but we’ll figure it out,” said Coach Byron Scott.
After scoring just 16 points in the third quarter (and 17 in the first), the Cavaliers netted 41 in the fourth – 13 of which were scored by Alonzo Gee, who finished with a career-high 20 points in the loss.
Kryie Irving followed up with 18 points, six assists and four boards and his backup, Ramon Sessions, tallied 14 points, eight assists and six boards.
“I wish we could have put the first three quarters together like we did the fourth,” lamented Irving, the reigning Rookie of the Month. “We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean for the first three quarters.”
Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamsion both doubled-up for the Cavaliers. Jamison finished with 16 points and 12 boards while the Wild Thing continued his All-Star-sized season, tallying 12 points and 15 boards against the three-time Defensive Player of the year.
“This is just the learning process of what we are going through,” said Jamison. “We have to do a better job of starting games.”
Howard had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Magic, but Jason Richardson’s 19 seemed more painful – going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and 7-of-12 overall.
Despite Howard’s presence, the Cavs still out-rebounded Orlando by a dozen and outscored them in the paint, 46-36. But, as has been the case for a solid week, a sluggish start doomed their overall effort.
It doesn’t get easier for the Wine and Gold, which returns home to face Dirk Nowitzki and the World Champion Mavericks on Saturday night at The Q.