Magic Go Cold From Downtown in Loss to Cavs
The good news is the Orlando Magic kept their turnovers down. The bad news is they struggled from 3-point land. Orlando committed a season-low nine turnovers, but they made just eight of their 32 3-point attempts in a 105-92 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Making his first start of the season and 595th of his NBA career with Mo Bamba out with back spasms, Robin Lopez showcased his nifty footwork and soft touch on his baby hook shot. The 7-footer, now in his 14th NBA season, matched a season high with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Wendell Carter Jr., meanwhile, notched his 10th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds before getting ejected after arguing a non-foul call with just over two minutes left in the game.
The Cavs, up just five at halftime, opened the third quarter on a 14-6 run. In that time, Lauri Markkanen knocked down two 3-pointers and Darius Garland hit a 34-footer just before the shot clock expired. Another key stretch came midway through the fourth when Cleveland scored eight unanswered points to extend their lead to 16. Markkanen and Evan Mobley, back after missing the last four games with an elbow sprain, each drilled a triple during that span.
Out for Orlando were Cole Anthony (sprained right ankle), Bamba (lower back spasms), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee) and E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain). Terrence Ross didn’t play in the second half (lower back maintenance). For Cleveland, Sexton (left knee), Dean Wade (left calf strain), Tacko Fall (G League – Two-Way) and RJ Nembhard Jr. (G League – Two-Way) were unavailable.
This Day in History
A rarity in NBA history, all five Magic starters in a win over the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 27, 1992 scored 20-plus points. Scott Skiles led the way with 32 points; Jeff Turner had a season-high 23; both Shaquille O’Neal and Dennis Scott finished with 21; Nick Anderson posted 20. Only one Pacer that night scored over 20 points. That was Reggie Miller, who tallied 29. Also unique about that game for Orlando was that in every quarter they scored at least 30 points.
Losing Collin Sexton for the season from a knee injury was a big blow to the Cavs, who were playing extremely well with him in the lineup. Despite that, it wouldn’t be shocking if Cleveland at minimum reached the play-in tournament this year, especially if Mobley continues to make strides. Improved are Garland and Jarrett Allen, who have great chemistry together. Also, their bench is underrated. Both Ricky Rubio, acquired by the Cavs in an offseason trade, and Cedi Osman are shooting career highs from 3-point range.
Quote of the Night
“That’s kind of the NBA. It’s going to be a lot of different scenarios thrown at you. You got to play through it. You got to keep playing.” – Lopez on his team playing the second night of a back-to-back shorthanded
The Magic wrap up their two-game road trip in Philadelphia, where they will clash with the 76ers on Monday at 7 p.m. Joel Embiid made his return Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves following a nine-game absence while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. In that contest, won by Minnesota in double overtime, the four-time All-Star recorded 42 points and 14 rebounds. Former Magic player Tobias Harris scored 17 points, while Tyrese Maxey had 15 points and nine assists.