Cavaliers take away Orlando's Magic 107-93 
A year ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers were gearing up for another run to the NBA Finals, ready to accept the challenges that awaited in the NBA playoffs. What a difference a year makes.

As this season winds down, the Cavs own the third-worst record in the league and have accepted a different challenge — their role as spoiler.

“That’s kind of the nature of the beast at this particular point,” Cavs head coach Larry Drew said. “We’re going to be playing against some teams that are playing for something and recognizing that we have the chance to play spoiler. We’ve been on the other side of the spectrum the last few years, where teams have had that some opportunity against us.

“Now the shoe is on the other foot. We have a chance to play spoiler against some teams that are certainly playing for some things, and we want to try to play spoiler as much as we can.”

What a difference a Kevin Love make, too. Without Love for Saturday’s contest against Detroit, the Pistons thrashed the Cavs by 36 points in their own building. Back in Quicken Loans Arena for Sunday’s meeting with the Orlando Magic, Love was back in uniform for the rebuilding Cavaliers.

“Just having Kevin back, it makes it a little bit easier from a rotational standpoint with our bigs,” Drew said.

Love’s presence was certainly felt, as the Cavs big man recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds, helping the Cavs secure a 107-93 victory in The Q.

The Cavs were competitive from the opening tip and secured a 29-24 lead when the first quarter ended. A hot start led to the Cavaliers’ early advantage, as the team shot 59 percent from the field in the first quarter. They continued their promising play in the second quarter.

When Love and Matthew Dellavedova sank back-to-back three-pointers midway through the second quarter, Cleveland had built its largest lead of the night, 46-34. The Magic rallied to trail just 52-48 at halftime after two confounding quarters. The Cavs took a lead into halftime despite only attempting two free throws in the first half.

A disastrous third quarter nearly did the Cavs in, as they scored just 15 points in the period. As a result, Cleveland relinquished its lead and trailed 72-67 heading into the fourth. However, Cleveland used a 17-0 run, capped by a Jordan Clarkson three-pointer with 9:12 remaining, to take an 80-72 lead. Leading 96-88 with just under three minutes to play, it was Clarkson with another trey that put the Cavs up double-digits 99-88 and essentially iced the game.

Clarkson led the Cavs with 18 points, while Collin Sexton chipped-in 17 points and two assists.

Last season’s success seems long gone, but several young Cavaliers have shown promise this season, including Sexton and Cedi Osman, who finished with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists against Orlando.

“When you look at our situation over the last few years in having LeBron here and having Kyrie here along with Kevin, it was a terrific combination,” Drew said.

With two bodies from that three-headed monster departed, the Cavs are tasked with finding a way to resume playing in June. First, though, they’ll have to navigate their way through the rest of this rocky season. 
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​POSTED 03/03/2019 20:45
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