By John Denton
April 7, 2013

CLEVELAND – For a second consecutive game, the Orlando Magic led after the first quarter, at halftime and at the end of three periods. And for a second consecutive game, the lead disappeared when it mattered most to result in yet another confounding loss.

In what has been a familiar theme with Orlando’s youth-filled and injury-depleted roster, the Magic played well for three quarters, even threatened to break the game open at one point late in the third quarter. But Orlando once again experienced closing issues because of an inability to defend without fouling in a 91-85 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Orlando (19-59) led by two points after the first quarter, four points at halftime and by four points heading into the final period. But Orlando went cold offensively down the stretch and sent Cleveland (24-52) to the free throw line 12 times (11 makes) in the final period.

``You just have to be more selfish and want more than a four- or six-point lead going into that fourth quarter,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn lamented. ``We had good defensive possessions throughout the night and then we were good to the end (of the shot clock) and we would bail them out with a bad foul or something of that nature. But we have to continue to get better and want more.’’

Similarly, Orlando led after each of the first three quarters in Chicago on Friday, only to come unglued in the final period. The Magic led the Bulls by as much as five late on Friday before falling behind by nine. They clawed back within one before losing 87-86.

And on Sunday it happened again when the reeling Cavaliers scored 10 consecutive points early in the fourth quarter to wipe out a six-point Magic edge. Orlando twice got within one point Cleveland’s lead, but they could never surge back ahead because of the fouls that gave the Cavs easy free throws.


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