When the fourth quarter began head coach Byron Scott didn’t send out any of his starters, a trend he is beginning to develop. In fact, a starter didn’t enter the game until Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson came into the game with six minutes left in the game.
But the bench gave the Cavs enough of a lead for Coach Scott to keep his starters on the bench and rest. The game ended in favor of the Cavs 119-108.
The stat of the night goes to the Cavaliers’ bench scoring 51 points, compared to the 15 points the Magic’s bench scored.
This game went back and forth all night and was tied 24-24 at the end of the first and 56-56 at half.
But when fourth quarter started Marreese Speights took over like he did against the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday. Speights finished with 18 points, including going 12-12 from the free throw line. His teammate who came over in the trade with Memphis contributed 14 points playing 25 minutes.
Orlando came into Cleveland without two of their three leading scorers: J.J. Redick and Glen Davis. Davis has been on the injury report for most of the year with a broken bone in his foot.
Jameer Nelson was almost non-existent all game due to Coach Scott matching him up against a bigger defender. Alonzo Gee started on him in the first quarter, and then as the game went on, Shaun Livingston did his duties to defend him. However, down the stretch in the fourth quarter, Nelson hit three 3-pointers to keep the game close.
This was the Magic’s 12-straight loss and the third-straight win for the Cavs.
Kyrie Irving, who was recently voted to the All-Star team, the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, and the 3-point contest, was the team’s top performer tonight with 24 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Defensively the Cavs weren’t sound tonight giving up 46 points to the Magic’s front court, including giving up a career-high 25 points to Nikola Vucevic. Rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson scored 21 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
The Cavaliers’ hot shooting streak continued tonight as they shot 49 percent form the field, and 83 percent from the charity strike.
This win makes the Cavs 6-2 after the trade with Memphis and 3-0 after Coach Scott had a closed door meeting with the team after the Pistons’ loss last Friday.
The Cavs take the court again tomorrow when they welcome in the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are currently fourth in the Western Conference standings, but didn’t have any players selected to the All-Star team. Tipoff is schedule for 7:30 p.m.