Magic Top Cavaliers at The Q

Cool-Shooting Cavs Fall in Third Game in Three Nights
Alonzo Gee
On Sunday, the Cavaliers were playing their third game in three nights – and it showed.

Already shorthanded without Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson, the Wine and Gold – playing through their toughest stretch of the season – fell behind early and never caught up. Orlando led wire-to-wire, running away with the 100-84 win on Sunday at The Q.

The Magic themselves were without Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, but they still managed to hold the Cavaliers to 37 percent shooting – including Cleveland’s worst offensive half of basketball this season – while clinching a playoff berth with the win.

The Cavaliers scored just 15 points in each of the first two quarters and went into intermission down a baker’s dozen. They cut Orlando’s lead to eight early in the third period, but the Magic pulled away in the second half – keeping Cleveland at a double-digit deficit for the rest of the night.

“I told our coaches in the second quarter: ‘I think the third game is taking its toll,’ which is understandable,” said Coach Scott. “I also thought our guys tried to fight through it and keep playing hard and keep competing and that’s what it’s all about. I’m very proud of them from that standpoint.”

One night after getting his first night off of the season, Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 21 points – going 5-for-13 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the stripe. Jamison also led the Wine and Gold with six assists to go with five boards and a blocked shot.

“I can’t imagine playing Friday, Saturday and today, but everyone goes through it and it was our time to go through it,” said Jamison. “We wanted to put ourselves in the position to make some noise, but between our turnovers and (the Magic) converting on our turnovers and us not finding a rhythm offensively, it’s hard for us to win the game.”

Donald Sloan netted a career-high 15 points, one night after registering his previous high with 13 in Washington. Sloan was 5-for-10 from the floor, adding five assists and four boards.

Only two other Cavaliers notched double-figures – Manny Harris and Alonzo Gee, who scored 10 points apiece.

On Sunday, the Wine and Gold outrebounded the Magic, but committed 18 turnovers to just six for the Magic. Both teams shot an even 50 percent from beyond the arc in the second half.

Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 21 points, nine assists and seven boards. Ryan Anderson led both clubs with 13 rebounds.

The Cavaliers get a much-needed day off on Monday before heading to Detroit for their final meeting with the Pistons on Tuesday – one of just seven games remaining in the 2011-12 regular season.

  • The Cavaliers, who shot just 76 percent from the line on Sunday, are the only team in the NBA that has improved their free throw percentage in each month of the season. Since January, the Cavs have shot .691, .694, .697 and .719, respectively. This month, they’re shooting .811 from the stripe.

  • Before Sunday’s game, Anthony Parker was named the winner of this year’s Austin Carr Good Guy Award, voted on by local media members. Parker is the seventh winner of the award, given out to the Cavaliers player who is cooperative and understanding of the media, the community and the public. A.P. joins past winners: Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Damon Jones, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamario Moon and Antawn Jamison.

  • After helping the Canton Charge win Game 1 of their first round playoff series – and the Cavaliers win Saturday night’s matchup in Washington – Luke Harangody was re-assigned to Canton for their Game 2 matchup in Springfield. The Charge eventually lost Sunday’s matchup in overtime, splitting the three-game series at one game apiece. Game 3 is set for Monday night in Massachusetts.

  • Since mid-March, Tristan Thompson has joined Kyrie Irving in the top four among rookie scorers. The injured Irving leads all first-year players in scoring since March 19 at an even 20.0 ppg. Thompson has averaged 10.9 ppg in that span.

  • Browns cornerback Joe Haden was in attendance, sitting courtside near the Orlando bench.