Notebook: Cavaliers 91, Magic 85



Posted Apr 8, 2013 12:36 AM

Brian Dulik, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Small forward Alonzo Gee scored 19 points and power forward Tristan Thompson collected 15 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied for a 91-85 victory over the Orlando Magic. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving added nine points and 10 assists for the Cavaliers, who won back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 26-27. Small forward Tobias Harris scored a game-high 26 points for the Magic, while center Nikola Vucevic amassed 21 points, 21 rebounds and a career-high tying six assists. Orlando suffered its 11th consecutive road loss, which is the second-longest skid in franchise history.

QUOTABLE: "As bigs, it's our responsibility to come in and rebound, and play hard. That's what I've done the last two games. I'm just playing with energy, and I'm just going to try to keep it up the rest of the year."

-- Thompson

THE STAT: Thompson is averaging 22.0 points and 16.5 rebounds over the last two games, including career highs of 29 points and 17 boards Friday in the Cavaliers' 97-91 win at Boston. Of late, the second-year pro from Texas also has emerged as one of Cleveland's team leaders during its third straight dismal campaign. "Just recently, you (reporters) have been coming to me and I've been speaking, so I guess you can say I've been a leader," said Thompson, who is averaging 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds while playing in all 76 games this season. "I'm just being myself."

TURNING POINT: Orlando held its largest lead of the game at 66-58 with 2:27 left in the third quarter, but Cavaliers point guard Shaun Livingston ended the frame with four unanswered points to start a 14-4 run. Shooting guard Wayne Ellington buried a perimeter jumper to put Cleveland ahead for good at 72-70 with 7:54 remaining in the fourth, allowing Cleveland to snap its five-game home losing streak. "You've just got to be more selfish than we were, and want more than a four-point lead going into the fourth," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.

QUOTABLE II: "In the last couple of minutes of games, sometimes we overthink and make mistakes. It's not easy because we're all competitors, but we understand this is all part of the process and we know our future is bright."

-- Vucevic

HOT: Vucevic posted his third 20-point/20-rebound game of the season and is averaging 23.0 points, 17.0 boards and 4.5 assists in two contests at Cleveland in 2012-2013. He also tied the Quicken Loans Arena record for rebounds in a half with 14 in the first, but fell two boards shy of the arena mark of 23 in a game shared by New Jersey's Kris Humphries and Cleveland's Anderson Varejao. ... Livingston collected 12 points, six rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes off the bench. ... The Cavaliers have won three straight games over the Magic and went 3-1 against Orlando this season. ... Harris is averaging 16.3 points and 8.4 rebounds in 23 games since joining the Magic in a Feb. 21 trade with Milwaukee.

NOT: Cavaliers shooting guard C.J. Miles received six stitches on his forehead after taking an inadvertent elbow from Vucevic early in the second. Miles scored eight points in six minutes before his evening ended prematurely. ... Irving is 12-of-51 from the field (23.5 percent) since coming back from a sprained left shoulder three games ago. ... Magic power forward Kyle O'Quinn also needed six stitches after being struck on the upper lip during a rebounding scrum late in the second. The rookie required three stitches on the outside of his mouth and three on the inside of it -- as one of his front teeth went through his lip. O'Quinn returned to play in the fourth. ... Orlando went 0-5 on its five-game, nine-day road trip.

QUOTABLE III: "I'm probably in the worst shooting slump in my short career, but I'm not really worried about that. Obviously, my shot isn't going to fall every night, but as long as I can contribute on the defensive end, that's my job."

-- Irving

GOOD MOVE: Irving made his first public comments on Cavaliers coach Byron Scott's job status before the game. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year said he did not want to think about Cleveland possibly making a coaching change, doing his best to put out the fire that has been blazing of late in Northeast Ohio. "Until that time comes, I'm not really worried about it," Irving said. "To even imagine that, I'm not going down that road." Scott is 64-160 in three seasons in charge of the Cavaliers.

BAD MOVE: The Cavaliers refused to put multiple bodies on Vucevic, allowing the 7-foot, 240-pounder from Montenegro to dominate them at both ends throughout his 42 minutes. Vucevic notched his 42nd double-double of the season and upped his rebounding average to 11.8. "Once I made a couple of shots, guys were coming out on me more aggressively and I was able to find my teammates," Vucevic said. "I think I'm a good passer and I enjoy giving my teammates good looks."

NOTABLE: The Magic only had 10 players in uniform as point guard Jameer Nelson (right ankle sprain) remains listed as day-to-day, but missed his fifth straight game. Also out for Orlando were center Glen "Big Baby" Davis (left foot surgery), shooting guard Arron Afflalo (right hamstring strain), and small forward Hedo Turkoglu (personal reasons). ... Two busloads of students from St. Bonaventure made the three-hour drive from western New York to cheer on Magic shooting guard -- and ex-Bonnies standout -- Maurice Harkless. ... Cavaliers power forward Luke Walton (right ankle sprain) was a late scratch, while shooting guard Daniel "Boobie" Gibson (right elbow soreness) dressed, but only would have played in an emergency. Rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters (left knee soreness) sat out his ninth game in a row, while center Anderson Varejao (right knee surgery) is out for the season.

UP NEXT: For the Magic, Wednesday vs. Milwaukee, Saturday vs. Boston, Monday vs. Chicago. For the Cavaliers, Tuesday @ Indiana, Wednesday vs. Detroit, Friday vs. New York.