It’s been a while, but the Wine and Gold are once again a very dangerous team on their home floor.
The Cavaliers ran their home win streak to six games, taking the lead late in the first quarter and making it stick the rest of the way – handing Orlando its seventh straight defeat – and second in Cleveland this season – holding on for the 107-96 victory on Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
With the victory – and Boston’s Friday night overtime loss to the Heat – the Cavaliers, now at 10-1, have the Eastern Conference’s best home record.
Cleveland got excellent production from the usual suspects in the starting lineup, plus a big boost from Kevin Love, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous six of his last seven games with a fractured thumb.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers, topping the 30-point plateau for the 12th time in 20 games as a Cavalier – scoring 15 of his game-high 34 points in the opening period, going 12-for-21 from the floor overall, including 7-for-11 from beyond the arc in 37 minutes of work.
Evan Mobley doubled-up for the sixth time in his last nine games, manning the middle with Jarrett Allen still on the mend with a hip injury, finishing with 19 points and a game-best 13 boards, adding four assists, a steal and a pair of blocks in the win.
Darius Garland chipped in with 18 points and a team-high six assists, going 6-for-15 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 from the stripe. (The Cavaliers made just nine trips to the line all night; Orlando, just a dozen.)
Kevin Love was rock-solid in his return – doubling-up with 11 points and 11 boards, going 4-of-7 from the floor, adding three assists and a steal in 22 minutes of work off the bench.
The Magic were led once again by impressive rookie Paolo Banchero, who finished with 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting while Cole Anthony led all reserves with 19 points in just his second game back from a 16-game absence.
FEAT HIGHLIGHT: MOBLEY SLAMS IT DOWN
Caris LeVert throws the no look pass to Evan Mobley who slams down the dunk.
Feat. Highlight: Mobley Slams it Down
Although the Cavaliers were really never in trouble on Friday night, they essentially put the game out of reach over the final half of the third period.
Neither team led by double-digits before intermission, and the Cavaliers took a touchdown lead into the locker room. That was Cleveland’s lead with 6:13 remaining in the third quarter when it hit the jets – taking a double-digit advantage on two straight buckets by Evan Mobley. The seven-footer’s barrage keyed an 18-5 run that put the Wine and Gold up 20 near the end of the quarter.
Orlando made a fourth-quarter run, but never got closer than within eight points the rest of the way.
BY THE NUMBERS
12.3 … point differential for the Wine and Gold in their 11 home contests so far this season – winning every game but one – the overtime victory over Boston – by double-figures.
In those 11 home games, the Cavaliers are shooting .493 from the floor, including .399 from long-range. Conversely, Cleveland is allowing opponents to shoot just 45 percent from the floor at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, .327 from beyond the arc.
Donovan Mitchell, on what teams are doing to the Cavaliers to try to slow them down …
“That’s part of the learning curve for us – trying to figure out how to attack different defenses every night. It’s only going to get harder from here. We’ve had success up to this point, but it’s a copycat league and teams are going to see us two and three times and you’re going to get different looks and different things thrown at us. We just have to be ready for them. We’re doing a good job and we’re only going to continue to get better.”
CALLS OF THE GAME
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 98.1.
After dropping Orlando on Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the Wine and Gold get back on the road – briefly – traveling to the mecca of hoops for a Sunday night showdown with the Knicks.
From there, the Cavaliers come home for three straight – and nine of the next 11 – beginning Tuesday night when they welcome LeBron and the Lakers to town, followed by a Friday night visit from the Kings before wrapping up the homestand on Saturday against the Thunder.