Cavs Dominate Magic in Orlando
Wrap-Up – If there were any concerns about Kyrie Irving’s return altering the rhythm of the surging Cavaliers, the All-Star guard and his mates put that to rest early in Orlando, as the Wine and Gold continued their playoff push by crushing the Magic – 119-98 – on Wednesday night.
After missing the previous eight games with a left biceps injury, Irving returned to the starting lineup without missing a beat, going 7-for-8 from the floor for 17 points, adding six boards and eight assists in 28 minutes of action. The man Kyrie called his “wingman” – Dion Waiters – was just as good, leading both squads with 26 points, going 10-for-15 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from long-distance. Cleveland’s starting big men – Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson – finished with 20 points apiece in the win. Hawes added eight boards and five assists. Thompson finished with 11 boards for his 33rd double-double of the season. Jarrett Jack was stellar off the bench – going 5-for-9 for 13 points, four boards, four assists and a steal.The Cavaliers dominated in almost every area of the game on Wednesday, including a jaw-dropping 64 points in the paint. The Cavs out-ran Orlando on the break – 25-6 – while shooting 58 percent from the floor and an even 50 percent from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Wine and Gold held the Magic to 44 percent shooting while forcing 17 turnovers.
Turning Point – As they did in their big win over Indiana on Sunday afternoon, the Cavaliers didn’t waste any time jumping on Orlando, which held a lead only once and very briefly – at 13-11 midway through the first quarter. That was as good as it’d get for the Magic, as the Cavaliers hit the gas and didn’t look back. Cleveland scored 35 points in each of the first two quarters, took a 23-point lead into intermission, and kept the pressure on until Mike Brown emptied his bench with three minutes remaining.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – Everyone who played substantial minutes contributed to the cause on Wednesday – Dion Waiters leading all scorers, Tristan Thompson playing in his 200th consecutive game and doubling-up for the 33rd time this season or Spencer Hawes going for 15 points in the second quarter to blow the game open. But Kyrie’s comeback was the story in the victory – Cleveland’s fourth in its last five outings. Irving was extremely efficient from the floor, went 3-for-4 from the line and led both squads with eight helpers.
By the Numbers – 7 … straight games that the Cavaliers have beaten the Magic, their longest active winning streak against any team. (They’ve beaten Utah and Philly three straight.) With the victory, the Wine and Gold swept Orlando for the first time since the 1990-91 season.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on his team’s all-around effort in Wednesday’s win …
”We had a lot of good performances from a lot of guys. Tristan Thompson with his double-double, that was great. Dion was very efficient scoring the ball, Kyrie was very efficient scoring the ball. All of our guys, their efficiency out there together was fun to watch. It was a good win for us on the road.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers are down to their final half-dozen contests, and the stakes get higher as we approach the regular season finish line. On Friday night, it’s a huge road matchup with the struggling Hawks, who fell in Chicago on Wednesday night. (The Knicks clobbered Brooklyn at the Garden, however, to tie Atlanta for the eighth playoff spot.) On Saturday, the Cavs return to The Q to take on the Bobcats and stay in town for a Wednesday night matchup with the Pistons. They travel to Milwaukee next Friday night, welcome the Celtics to The Q on Saturday and wrap up the regular campaign on April 16 against the Nets on Fan Appreciation Night.
Watch Highlights: Cavs 119, Magic 98