Cavs Pull Past Magic
Wrap-Up – After a tough first couple months of the season, the young Cavaliers look like they’re having fun on the floor. And why shouldn’t they? With Friday night’s 119-108 win over Orlando at The Q, the Wine and Gold have now won three straight, six of their last eight and have gone 11-11 over their last 22 outings.
The formula was familiar. Byron Scott’s second unit gives the Cavaliers enough breathing space in the second half for Kyrie Irving and the starters to come in and close out the victory. Irving led the Wine and Gold with 24 points, adding eight assists and six boards. Fellow starters Tristan Thompson (16 points) and Dion Waiters (15) came up big. Off the bench, Marreese Speights continued his strong run – netting 18 points – and Wayne Ellington added 14 more in a reserve role.
Despite putting up another big point total, the Cavaliers turned the ball over just six times for the second straight game. Cleveland shot an even 50 percent from beyond the arc and snagged 10 steals. Their bench scored 51 of the Cavaliers’ 119 points in Friday’s win.
Turning Point – The first three quarters of Friday’s matchup was nip-and-tuck – featuring 18 ties and 20 lead changes. After three periods, neither team got further than six points away from the other. But late in the third, with the Wine and Gold down three, 80-77, an Alonzo Gee fastbreak dunk highlighted a 13-0 run that saw the Wine and Gold ten points up early in the fourth. Orlando didn’t take the lead again.
Game Ball – Wayne Ellington – Almost overshadowed by Speights’ solid play, the fourth-year guard from North Carolina came up big on both sides of the court on Friday – going 3-for-5 from long-distance for 14 points and playing solid defense on Orlando’s Aaron Aflalo in the closing minutes of the victory.
By the Numbers – 118.6 … points per game the Cavaliers are averaging over their last three contests. You have to go way back for the last time Cleveland scored 115-plus points in three straight contests – January 15, 1993.
Quotable – Kyrie Irving, on the Cavaliers growing as a team …
“We’re trying to build a family here and we have a great group of guys who are willing to give a piece of themselves for the team.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers round out the unofficial first half of the season with three more contests before the All-Star Break. They complete the weekend back-to-back on Saturday against the red-hot Nuggets – winners of eight straight. On Monday, the Wine and Gold face the Minnesota Timberwolves before welcoming the equally-scorching San Antonio Spurs to town on Wednesday night.