The Cleveland Cavaliers (18-37) beat the Orlando Magic for the second time in six games Saturday night 118-94. Orlando has lost 27 of their last 30 games and fell to 15-41 on the year.
The game was tied 51-51 at half, and due to the balanced scoring attack the Cavs were able to take a seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Head coach Byron Scott has fallen in love with his five bench players he starts the fourth quarter off with: Marreese Speights, Luke Walton, Wayne Ellington, C.J. Miles and Shaun Livingston. These five played almost the entire fourth quarter, scoring 39 points.
Cleveland had seven players in double figures, including four in their starting lineup. The most notable performance tonight was from rookie center Tyler Zeller, who had one of his best performances of his early career with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Speights, who has emerged as a leader coming off the bench, was the game’s leading scorer and had 18 points tonight. He went 10-of-12 from the free throw line in 22 minutes of playing time. Scott has made it clear that anyone on his bench is subject to play and had 10 of his guys tonight play at least 17 minutes.
With the great play off the bench, Kyrie Irving did not play the entire fourth quarter and finished the game with 12 points and nine assists. Dion Waiters has been shooting the ball really well in the month of February but was only able to hit five of his 16 shots he attempted. He still finished with 12 points and dished out four assists. Alonzo Gee came out shooting the ball hot, going 6-of-9 from the field with 17 points. Tristan Thompson didn’t fair as well as his teammates tonight, as he only scored two points. However, he was still a beast on the board, grabbing 11 rebounds.
Omri Casspi did not play after he was taken to an Orlando Hospital Saturday afternoon after he was experiencing stomach pains. Daniel Gibson also did not play due to “personal reason,” which happens to be right after the trade deadline. Interesting.
Orlando played in their first game since they dealt four players to Milwaukee, including their sixth man J.J. Redick. The Magic didn’t appear comfortable without their sixth-man.
Irving was matched up against E’Twaun Moore, who was making only his 11th start of the season. Moore wasn’t able to keep up with Irving, as Irving was able to get whatever he wanted, leading to his game-high nine assists.
Cleveland won’t have much time to celebrate this win, as they will have to travel across Florida to take on the Miami Heat on Sunday. In the last meeting between the two, the Cavs were able to hold the lead for the majority of the game, but after a last-second Ray Allen three pointer, the Cavs left Miami with disappointment.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the American Airlines Arena.