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Right now, the shorthanded Cavaliers seem to be in survival mode as the longest trip of the young season rolls on – trying to stay competitive until reinforcements arrive.
The Wine & Gold got some good news with rookie Isaac Okoro rejoining the lineup, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Magic – who took control early in the second half and pulled away down the stretch, taking the two-game set with the 105-94 victory on Wednesday night in Orlando.
Already ravaged by injuries, the Cavaliers learned earlier in the day that they’d likely be without Dante Exum for the next 6-8 weeks with a calf injury and Darius Garland, who might be out a week with a shoulder ailment.
Collin Sexton reached the 20-point plateau for the 13th consecutive game dating back to last year – leading both teams with 21 points on 8-of-20 shooting, including 3-of-7 from deep to go with four assists, a steal and a block.
Andre Drummond continued a streak of his own, doubling-up for the eighth straight game to start the season – finishing with 19 points and 15 boards, going 9-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the stripe.
Larry Nance Jr., Okoro and fellow rookie Lamar Stevens all chipped in with 10 points apiece. Cedi Osman led the Wine & Gold with seven assists and three steals.
Terrance Ross led the Magic with 20 points off the bench, going 6-of-9 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Collin Sexton gets to his spot, throws up a pass to Andre Drummond who catches it and throws it down with two hands to finish the ally-oop.
The Cavaliers M.O. during their recent funk has been falling behind early and putting together a run in the second quarter. On Wednesday night, the opposite came to fruition.
Late in the first quarter, rookie Lamar Stevens’ jumper gave the Cavs a double-digit lead, and Andre Drummond’s layup a minute later made it an even dozen. But that’s as good as it would get for the Cavaliers.
But the Magic ran out to a 17-7 burst to start the second quarter and scored 36 in the period to take a six-point edge into half.
Dwayne Bacon’s triple with 7:40 to play in the third gave Orlando its first double-digit lead of the night, and Steve Clifford’s squad didn’t look back from there, extending its edge to 23 points in the fourth before Cleveland closed the gap in garbage time.
By the Numbers – 11.14 … steals per game that the Cavaliers are averaging this year, tops in the league.
The Cavaliers have two players in the NBA’s top five in steals – Larry Nance Jr., who leads the league at 2.57spg and Andre Drummond, who’s tied for 5th at 1.86 per.
"We’re having a hard time on the offensive end of the floor right now. Shots aren’t falling. We’re missing bunnies at the rim, we’re missing open looks. That makes it difficult. I think if you give up 105 points, that gives you an opportunity to be in the game, an opportunity to win. But right now we’re having a hard time on the offensive end and that’s on me to find us easier ways to score and take some of the pressure off our guys."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
After dropping both games in the Magic Kingdom, the Cavaliers complete the second half of their midweek back-to-back on Thursday night against the scrappy Grizzlies in Memphis. Cleveland wraps up their longest trip of the season on Saturday night in Milwaukee.
The Wine & Gold return home with a back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse – taking on the Grizzlies and Utah Jazz, respectively.