Cavs Hold Off Magic Rally, Snap Skid at Four

I.T.'s Late Free Throws Squash Magic Rally, Cavs Return to Win Column
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Wrap-Up -- Through the first two contests of their three-game homestand the Cavaliers have proven that they can jump all over opponents to start the game. Finishing them off after intermission has been the tricky part.

As they did in Monday’s matchup with the Warriors, the Cavaliers came out ready to play – running out to a 23-point edge in the second quarter. Orlando rallied back in the second stanza – tying the game in the third and actually taking a one-point lead late in the fourth before Isaiah Thomas canned a pair of free throws -- snapping Cleveland’s four-game slide with Thursday’s 104-103 win at The Q.

The Cavaliers cruised through the first half – handing out 19 assists on 25 makes, shooting 56 percent from the floor and taking a 20-point edge into the locker room. But they came out flat in the second half, with Orlando outscoring the Cavs, 33-17, in the third.

The Magic – who nearly erased a 24-point second-half lead against Cleveland less than two weeks earlier in Orlando – continued to close the gap in the fourth quarter, and when Shelvin Mack canned a short jumper with 31.5 to play, the Magic took their first lead of the ballgame.

But Mack would proceed to foul a driving Isaiah Thomas on Cleveland’s next possession – putting the two-time All-Star at the stripe. Thomas drilled both, giving the Cavaliers a one-point edge with 11.2 to play.

Orlando still had a chance to steal its second straight victory at The Q, but Elfrid Payton’s layup attempt rimmed out with .2 to play, giving the Wine & Gold their 19th win in the last 20 meetings with the Magic.

In just his fifth start of the season, Thomas led the Cavaliers with 21 points – going 6-for-15 from the floor, including 3-of-10 from long-distance, adding four assists, three boards and a pair of steals.

LeBron James followed up with 16 points despite not having his A-game on Thursday – going 7-for-16 from the floor but missing all four three-point attempts and finishing just 2-of-8 from the stripe. James – who earned his 14th straight All-Star Game start as the East’s leading vote-getter – did lead Cleveland with six assists to go with five boards.

Kevin Love posted his 24th double-double of the year – chipping in with 12 points and a game-high-tying 11 boards.

Dwyane Wade came off the bench to tally 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting while Jeff Green added 10 points, eight boards and a pair of steals.

But the most welcome sight among the second unit was the appearance of Derrick Rose, who checked in to start the second quarter – making his first appearance since November 7. And the former MVP looked sharp in limited action – notching nine points and three boards in just over 13 minutes of work.

Isaiah Thomas


Balanced scoring attack fuels Cavs win against the Magic at The Q.

Elfrid Payton led six Magic players in double-figures – finishing with 19 points and a game-high eight assists. Aaron Gordon doubled-up for Orlando, adding 17 points and a team-best 11 boards in the loss.

Turning Point -- It’s difficult to say which turning point actually shaped Thursday’s outcome. Was it the Wine & Gold running out to a big lead? Losing it in the third quarter? Fighting off Orlando’s charge in the fourth?

The only answer is that the turning point came when Isaiah Thomas canned his two free throws late – erasing Orlando’s only lead and giving the Cavaliers a desperately needed win, by any means necessary.

By the Numbers25 … points that LeBron James needs to become the sixth player (and youngest) in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Dirk Nowitzki.

QuotableLeBron James, on the Cavaliers’ recent struggles …

”Us just being in a little funk. Us just being out of sorts as far as trying to put two complete halves together. We’re trying to find that. Obviously, we know we’ve been struggling as of late, so we’re just trying to figure out how we can put two halves together.”

Up Next -- After squeaking by the Magic on Thursday, the Wine & Gold close out their three-game homestand with a big Saturday afternoon matchup against Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the Thunder at The Q. From there, the Cavaliers hit the road for a tough one – traveling to San Antonio to face off against the Spurs on Tuesday before returning to Cleveland for a pair, welcoming the Pacers to The Q next Friday night followed by a visit from the Pistons two days later on Sunday the 28th.

Calls of the Game

#CavsMagic Postgame Wrap-Up presented by Rocket Mortgage

Cavs.com's Fred McLeod checks in from The Land to wrap-up the Wine & Gold's victory against the Magic on Thursday.

Cavs vs. Magic - January 18, 2018

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#CavsMagic Postgame Wrap-Up presented by Rocket Mortgage

Cavs.com's Fred McLeod checks in from The Land to wrap-up the Wine & Gold's victory against the Magic on Thursday.
Jan 18, 2018  |  03:15

#CavsMagic Postgame: Coach Lue - January 18, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Thursday's 104-103 victory over the Orlando Magic at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 18, 2018  |  03:47

#CavsMagic Postgame: Jeff Green - January 18, 2018

Cavaliers forward Jeff Green spoke with the media following Thursday's 104-103 victory over the Orlando Magic at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 18, 2018  |  04:23

#CavsMagic Postgame: Kevin Love - January 18, 2018

Cavaliers center Kevin Love spoke with the media following Thursday's 104-103 victory over the Orlando Magic at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 18, 2018  |  04:11

#CavsMagic Postgame: LeBron James - January 18, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Thursday's 104-103 victory over the Orlando Magic at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 18, 2018  |  04:20

#CavsMagic Postgame: Isaiah Thomas - January 18, 2018

Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas spoke with the media following Thursday's 104-103 victory over the Orlando Magic at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 18, 2018  |  03:32

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 104, Magic 103

Isaiah Thomas scores 21 points and seals the Cavaliers 104-103 victory over the Magic with a pair of late free throws. Elfrid Payton scored 19 points for Orlando in the loss.
Jan 18, 2018  |  02:46

#CavsMagic On-Court Postgame: Isaiah Thomas - January 18, 2018

Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas spoke with FOX Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton following Thursday's 104-103 victory over the Orlando Magic at Quicken Loans Arena.
Jan 18, 2018  |  01:47

LBJ Muscles His Way to the Basket

LeBron powers his way through defenders en route to a big bucket against the Orlando Magic in the fourth quarter.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:10

Rose Says 'Get That Weak Stuff Outta Here'

In his first game back since 2017, Derrick Rose makes a big stop with just seconds left in the third quarter to keep the score even against the Magic.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:12

Highlight in freeD: James Snags Alley-Oop

Experience LBJ's alley-oop jam from I.T. in the first quarter in freeD vs. the Magic.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:10

Highlight in freeD: LBJ Dimes Wade

Experience LeBron's slick assist to DWade in the second quarter in freeD vs. the Magic.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:12

KLove Finishes Half with Slick Bucket

Love rounds out the first half with a slick reverse layup with just seconds left on the clock.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:09

Tristan Plays Tough in the Paint

Tristan Thompson fights for the offensive rebound and goes right back up for the slam.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:10

Highlight in freeD: Crowder's Sneaky Steal

Experience Jae Crowder's sneaky steal with this freeD highlight.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:14

Highlight in freeD: JR Knocks Down Trey

Experience JR Smith's in freeD first quarter three with this snazzy highlight.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:12

DWade Goes Up for Big Jam

DWade throws down the hammer against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:09

LBJ Earns And-One after Snagging Perfect Pass

LeBron James is "More Driven" by earning the and-one after receiving a beautiful behind-the-back pass from JR Smith down in the paint.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:13

Featured Highlight: I.T. to LBJ Connection

Isaiah Thomas finds LBJ in the rear-view mirror for a beautifully timed alley-oop.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:09

I.T. Weaves Through Orlando Defenders

Isaiah Thomas bobs and weaves through Magic defenders enroute to his first two points of the game.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:09

James Assist To Wade

Pass of the year? LeBron dishes no-look pass between defender's legs to D-Wade.
Jan 18, 2018  |  00:33

#CavsMagic Shootaround: LeBron James - January 18, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the following Thursday's shootaround at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 18, 2018  |  08:59

Practice: Derrick Rose - January 17, 2018

Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 17, 2018  |  05:02

Practice: LeBron James - January 17, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 17, 2018  |  06:21

Practice: Coach Lue - January 17, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Jan 17, 2018  |  06:16