The Cleveland Cavaliers got past their Christmas day let down and won their second Florida game, beating the Orlando Magic 98-89 with LeBron James and Kevin Love leading the way, not looking too troubled by the fact that Kyrie Irving was out with an injury.
LeBron James scored 29 points, 15 of them coming in the final quarter on 5-of-8 from the field as the Magic continue their trend of shutting down in the final minutes of home games. They held a 74-65 lead late in the third quarter but were outscored by James himself in the fourth, scoring just 14 points. They were held to just 23.8% from the field compared to the 59.6% they were shooting going into the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers played with a lineup that incluced Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love in the frontcourt, Blatt learning that right now, that’s the combination he has to use. It hurts his bench because it gives him only Dion Waiters (33 minutes, 17 points) and Shawn Marion (15 minutes, four points) to actually contribute. Matthew Dellavedova started in the lineup instead of Irving, scoring 8 points and bringing his usual fire, energy and defense late in the game.
Marion, with 3 rebounds, became the first player in NBA history with 15,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 1000 blocks and 500 3-pointers. Kevin Love seemed a bit more comfortable getting a bigger role in the offense, scoring 22 points.The Cavaliers were at their best when Mike Miller was on the floor with a 9-5-5 kind of night with three 3-pointers. Tristan Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds, and showed he deserves to be the team’s starting center.