Orlando 90, Cleveland 79

CLEVELAND, Jan. 22 (AP) -- Once their coach busted his clipboard, the Orlando Magic figured it was time to break their losing streak.

Grant Hill scored 22 points, Dwight Howard added 18 and the Magic responded to coach Brian Hill's sideline tirade with a 90-79 win over the sleep-deprived Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

As his team huddled for a timeout in the second quarter, Hill destroyed his plastic chalkboard. If the destruction was meant to send a message, the Magic got it and snapped a five-game skid.

"He's a fiery guy and sometimes you have to do that as a coach,'' Grant Hill said. "Coaching is like parenting, sometimes there's six inches between a pat on the back and a pat on the butt. This was one of those times when he had to do a little patting on the butt.''

Hill, who missed Orlando's previous game with a dislocated pinky, only scored two points and played less than six minutes of the fourth quarter. But he did enough in his first 27 minutes on the floor to give the Magic an 11-point lead entering the period.

Jameer Nelson had 11 points, Keith Bogans made three 3-pointers and Darko Milicic added nine rebounds for Orlando, which ended a six-game skid in Cleveland.

LeBron James had 18 points for the lethargic Cavaliers, who just completed a seven-game trip out West and were playing their fifth game in seven nights.

"Mentally, we tried to tell ourselves we weren't tired,'' James said. "But it was tough. It was one of those games you try to forget about. We've got to get some rest. Everybody's sleeping pattern is off.''

Larry Hughes and Damon Jones had 16 points apiece for Cleveland, which after losing for the fourth time in five games, reached the midway point of the season at 24-17 - the same record it had last season.

Leading 71-60 after three, the Magic pushed their lead to 80-64 following a 3-pointer by Keyon Dooling and Milicic's basket inside. Bogans' third three made it 83-68 with 7:19 left, and the Cavaliers didn't have the legs to get back in it.

Hill and Howard finished a combined 15-of-22 from the field.

Unhappy with his team for letting the Cavs cut a 14-point deficit to eight in the second, Hill splintered his clipboard during a heated timeout. Orlando reacted by outscoring Cleveland 12-4 over the final 3:35 to take a 54-38 halftime lead.

"I just didn't feel we were playing with the same defensive intensity,'' Hill said. "We had to nip it in the bud.''

Hill's blowup surprised Nelson.

"He got our attention,'' Nelson said. "It worked. Hopefully, he doesn't have to do that anymore.''

The Magic survived a dry spell in the third quarter as Hill and Howard, who was held to a season-low one point by New Jersey on Saturday, were the only two Orlando players to score in a nine-minute stretch.

A 3-pointer by Jones pulled the Cavs within 69-59, but Nelson drained a 3 in the final second to make it 71-60.

The Cavaliers, who never led in the game, headed toward their locker room at the half with their fans either booing or grumbling about the club's lackluster effort. The first 24 minutes were a microcosm of Cleveland's recent trip: moments of brilliance mixed with brutality.

James, who averaged 30.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists during Cleveland's trip, said before the game that his energy has increased since the early season when it appeared a busy summer (he played for the U.S. in the world championships) had taken its toll.

But after playing on Saturday night at Golden State, the Cavaliers didn't get back to Ohio until 7:30 a.m. on Sunday and the lack of down time showed.

"It felt like a back-to-back-to-back,'' Drew Gooden said. "We didn't get our rest.''

Notes: A huge Dallas Cowboys fan, James was sorry to hear that Bill Parcells retired as the NFL team's coach. "It's disappointing,'' he said. "I know what he brought to that franchise, and we probably won't be able to get anyone on his level.'' ... Howard has been an ironman in his two-plus seasons in the NBA. He has played in 206 consecutive games, one shy of the team record held by Darrell Armstrong (Feb. 5, 1999 to April. 3, 2001). ... Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was treated for a cut over the left eye in the third quarter. He returned but finished with just five points and attempted only five shots in 22 minutes.


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