Wednesday night’s contest was another instance of the Wine & Gold digging themselves too deep of a hole and running out of gas after getting out of it.
Trailing by three touchdowns heading into the final quarter, the Cavaliers scored 43 points in the period and managed to tie the game in the closing moments – but the Magic scored the game’s final five points to hand Cleveland the 109-104 loss at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
In the first contest of a five-game homestand, the Cavaliers were sluggish through the first three quarters – notching just 16 points in the first period and 17 in the third. Employing a full-court press for nearly the entire fourth, the Cavs whittled away at Orlando’s lead – tying the affair at 104-apiece on Kevin Love’s triple with 1:03 remaining.
But Cole Anthony scored on a tough layup with 45 seconds to go followed by a costly turnover by Darius Garland on Cleveland’s next possession. Orlando tallied the game’s final three points at the stripe to seal the deal.
The injury-plagued Cavaliers were again without the services of their leading scorer, Collin Sexton (concussion), as well as Larry Nance Jr. (thumb fracture), Matthew Dellavedova (neck), Dylan Windler (knee), Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion) and Taurean Prince, who underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday.
Garland’s miscue didn’t mar an otherwise solid game for the sophomore guard who led both teams with 25 points on 10-of-24 shooting, notching 10 assists for the second straight game and adding four steals.
Cedi Osman, getting his third straight start, followed up with 19 points, going 6-for-13 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding four boards and three helpers.
Jarrett Allen was a handful from the jump, doubling-up with 17 points and a game-high 13 boards – six of those off the offensive glass – going 7-for-12 from the floor to go with two swats and a steal.
Isaac Okoro struggled from the floor on 4-of-12 shooting, but still notched double-figures in his third straight game – finishing with 15 points to go with five boards, a pair of assists and four steals.
Kevin Love – following an emotional mea culpa earlier in the day at morning shootaround – was obviously pressing on Wednesday, missing his first eight three-pointers before connecting on a pair in the fourth, including the late game-tying bomb, and finishing with six points. Love was still solid in other facets of the game – tallying 10 boards, six assists and three steals in the loss.
The Magic featured five players in double-figures, led by Gary Harris, who finished with 19 points on 9-for-16 shooting, leading Orlando with seven assists, six boards and a block.
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Darius Garland lobs a pass upstairs to Jarrett Allen who catches and throws down a two-handed ally-oop in the first quarter against the Magic.
The Cavs trailed by 21 heading into the fourth and Orlando pushed it to 23 early in the period.
From there, the Cavaliers pressed on every made basket and continued to erode Orlando’s edge – using a 20-6 run to cut the Magic’s lead to single-digits at the halfway point.
Cleveland continue to push – with Darius Garland scoring the Cavs’ next seven points and assisting on Kevin Love’s game-tying three-pointer. But the Wine and Gold simply didn’t have enough steam to close the contest – with Orland icing the decision at the line in the game’s final minute.
BY THE NUMBERS
By the Numbers - 18.5, 10.3 … Jarrett Allen’s scoring and rebounding averages over his last four games, doubling up in two of them and finishing with a career-best 27 points in Sunday’s contest in Washington.
Over that four-game stretch, the former Longhorn is shooting .732 from the floor, with five blocks and four steals in the mix.
Cedi Osman, on the shorthanded Cavaliers fourth-quarter comeback …
”It’s a 48-minute game, so if we can play the other three quarters the way we played the fourth (tonight), we wouldn’t have any problems. But at the end of the day, this was a good lesson for us. And I’m really proud of the guys – the way we fought in that last quarter.”
CALLS OF THE GAME
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
After falling to the Magic on Wednesday night, the Wine and Gold’s five-game homestand rolls on with a weekend back-to-back – welcoming Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal and the Wizards to town on Friday followed by a visit from the Heat on Saturday to tip off the final month of the season.
After their final two-day break of the season, the Cavs close out the homestand with a midweek back-to-back against a pair of tough Western Conference foes – with Chris Paul and the Suns rolling in next Tuesday and a matchup with Damian Lillard and the Blazers to following night.