Magic Show Fight Late, But Once Again Come Up Short in Loss to Cavs

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Several nights ago in Brooklyn, it was Kevin Durant who pretty much single-handedly carried his team to a victory over the Orlando Magic. On Friday in Cleveland, it was Donovan Mitchell whom the Magic struggled to contain, as the three-time NBA All-Star acquired by the Cavs over the summer exploded for 34 points in Orlando’s 107-96 loss at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.    

Top Performers

Paolo Banchero continues to add to his extraordinarily impressive rookie resume. The 6-foot-10, 255-pounder poured in a team-high 22 points for his 12th 20-plus-point performance already this season. Cole Anthony, in his second game back after missing 16 straight games with an oblique injury, scored 19 points, while Markelle Fultz played 30 minutes and finished with 10 points in just his second game of the year. Starting for the first time this season, Moe Wagner had 16 points.

Clutch Moments

Twice down the stretch, the Magic got within eight. In both those instances, the Cavs responded with clutch treys. The first one was made by Evan Mobley with 3:12 left, and the second one was knocked down by Darius Garland with 2:29 remaining.  

Key Stretch

The Cavs led by as many as 20 late in the third quarter thanks to a 14-2 run. Mitchell made three of his 12 shots in that stretch, including two from 3-point range, while Mobley, Kevin Love and Cedi Osman also scored during that time. 

Key Stats

Cleveland is one of the league’s best 3-point shooting teams, so it was no surprise they made 16 threes on Friday. Costly for the Magic were their turnovers. They had 18 of them, which led to 19 Cavs points.

Quote of the Day

“Really comfortable. Obviously, we’re both really young players, so we’re learning the game as we go. I think so many in-game reps is really valuable for both of us. I think we’re still going to figure out even more how we can play together. But it’s really easy to play with a player like that, that just wants to win and make the right play and sees a lot of things even for his age.” – Franz Wagner on his chemistry with Banchero 

Injury Report

Gary Harris (right hamstring soreness), Mo Bamba (back spasms), Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were out for the Magic. Jarrett Allen (back), Ricky Rubio (knee), and Dylan Windler (ankle) were unavailable for the Cavs. 

This Day in History

On Dec. 2, 2012, the Magic were in L.A. taking on the Lakers in what was Dwight Howard’s first game against his former team. Arron Afflalo, part of the four-team blockbuster trade that sent Howard to the Lakers just a few months earlier, erupted for 30 points, Glen Davis posted 23 points and 12 rebounds and Jameer Nelson had 19 points and 13 assists in the Magic’s victory. Howard recorded 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, while Kobe Bryant tallied 34 points. 

Rivals Report

Do the Cavs belong on the same tier as the Celtics and Bucks? That’s the big question in Cleveland. They are obviously a very good team with legitimate star power, particularly in their backcourt. But it remains to be seen come playoff time if they have enough to surpass either the best defensive team in the league currently in Milwaukee or the best offensive team in Boston. Interesting, though, is that the Cavs – not the Bucks or Celtics – are the only team in the East that ranks in the top 10 in both offense and defense. 

Up Next

The Magic wrap up their two-game road trip north of the border when they take on the Toronto Raptors on Saturday at 8 p.m. This will be the first of four meetings between the two teams. The Raptors have been up and down during the early portion of the season. Their longest winning streak thus far is two and their longest losing streak is also two. Unlike Cleveland, Toronto has struggled from long distance this season, making just 33.1 percent of their 3-point tries, which entering Friday’s action ranked 25th in the league.