Magic Hold Off Cavaliers
Wrap-Up – The names have changed, but it was a familiar story for the Cavaliers in Orlando – as the Magic shot 52 percent from beyond the arc to spoil a solid effort by the Wine and Gold, sending Cleveland to the 108-104 defeat. Neither team got more than four points apart in the fourth period, but the deciding factor down the stretch was Orlando’s J.J. Redick – who didn’t sink a single field goal in the fourth, but did manage to sink eight straight free throws in the final 22 seconds to seal the deal.Dion Waiters led six Cavaliers in double-figures with 25 points, going 9-for-22 from the floor, including 4-of-11 from long-distance. Anderson Varejao had another big night, doubling up with 19 points and 17 boards despite foul problems for most of the evening. And Jeremy Pargo, fresh off his 28-point performance on Wednesday at The Q, pitched in with 15 points.
Turning Point – Again, it was a familiar foe that did the damage on Friday night as Jameer Nelson keyed an 11-2 run midway through the third quarter that erased a nine-point Cavalier lead. Nelson scored 12 of his 22 points in the third and, as a team, the Magic scored 31 and 32 points in final two periods.
Game Ball – Tyler Zeller Anderson Varejao turned in another Herculean effort on Friday, and the rookie from North Carolina came close to mirroring it off the bench. In just his fourth game back from a facial injury – and still wearing the protective mask – Zeller solidified the middle for the second unit, netting 13 points, nine boards – three offensive – and a steal despite picking up three fouls in the final quarter. Zeller was 4-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-8 from the stripe.
By the Numbers – 2 … Number of turnovers by the Magic in the second half of Friday’s game – after committing 16 before intermission.
Quotable – Dion Waiters, on what he did to try to distract J.J. Redick at the stripe in the closing seconds of Friday’s loss …
“I tried to talk to him and say everything, but he was just knocking shots down. I was telling him, ‘Can you miss?’ I was playing but I was serious, like, ‘Miss a shot, please.’ But he’s a great shooter and he was able to knock shots down for his team.”
Seen and Heard – There was both calm and chaos just beyond the hardwood at the Amway Center. The calm was former Magic owner and current senior vice president, Pat Williams, sitting alone in a chair just beyond the Cavs bench, quietly reading Joe Paterno’s biography during the game. The chaos came when 290-pound “Big Baby” Davis dove for a loose ball and crushed a woman sitting two rows from courtside. Both Davis and the woman – and Pat Williams – escaped without injury.
Up Next – The Cavs close out the three-game trip with their two toughest challenges to date – Miami on Saturday night and the Grizzlies in Memphis on Monday.