Cavs Clobber Magic in Orlando
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers hit the road for the first time in over three weeks and their second unit did much of the heavy lifting when they got there – combining for 59 points to lead the Wine and Gold past the Magic, 118-94, on Saturday night in Orlando.The contest was knotted at 51-apiece at intermission, but rookie Tyler Zeller notched 12 of his 16 points in the third quarter to give the Cavaliers some breathing space in the third. Byron Scott’s reserves started the fourth period and ran off eight straight points to put the game essentially on ice with Orlando never getting to within single digits of Cleveland the rest of the way.
Mareese Speights, with friends and family looking on, led the Cavaliers with 18 points and eight boards off the bench, going 4-for-8 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the stripe. Alonzo Gee scored 10 of his 17 points in the first period and Zeller and C.J. Miles followed up with 16 points apiece. Wayne Ellington added 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting and Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters pitched in with a dozen points each.
Turning Point – The game was tied at 51-apiece at intermission, but Tyler Zeller led a third-quarter surge to give the Wine and Gold some breathing room. Cleveland began the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run and – with the second game of a back-to-back looming on Sunday in Miami – Byron Scott rested his starters the rest of the way.
Game Ball – Tyler Zeller – After netting just four points in the first half, the rookie from North Carolina found his rhythm after halftime, going 5-for-8 from the field for 12 points, six boards, a steal and a blocked shot in the third quarter alone. On the night, the seven-footer shot 7-for-12 with seven boards, but more importantly, his energy in the third catapulted the Cavaliers to the blowout win.
By the Numbers – 107.5 … points per game the Cavaliers are scoring in February, marking a big jump from previous months. They averaged 95.7 points per contest in November, 92.1 in December and 99.3 in January before their February improvement.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on the second unit’s efficiency in Saturday’s win …
“When you have four games in five nights it’s good when you can rest your starters for a whole quarter. Again, our bench guys did a heck of a job coming in that fourth quarter, not only maintaining but increasing the lead so I didn’t have to bring those guys back in.”
Up Next – It’s four games in five nights for the Cavaliers, who head to South Beach on Sunday night to take on the Heat in the second-half of their Sunshine State back-to-back. The Wine and Gold get Monday off before another back-to-back – against the Bulls in a nationally-televised contest on Tuesday and back home against Toronto on Wednesday.