Cavaliers too much for the Wagner's of Orlando 107-96  
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Friday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Orlando Magic. It was Pride Night celebrating diversity and the LBGTQ community. The Cavs entered the game on five game home winning streak. Tonight, was the second time the Cavs hosted the Magic this season. The defeated Orland in the first matchup at RMFH on October 26, 103-92. Tonight, was not much different as the Cavs margin of victory was the same with a 107-96 win sending home the Pride Night crowd happy.

The Cavs jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead on a three pointer by Lamar Stevens with 1:26 gone in the first quarter. The Magic then went on a 11-3 run capped off by a 3-point jumper by Moritz Wagner with 6:38 left in the first period. At the 7:20 mark of the period J.B. Bickerstaff subbed out Stevens replacing him with Kevin Love who had missed several games with a hairline fracture in his thumb. The large crowd at RMFH let Love know he was indeed loved with a large ovation when he entered the game. The Cavs responded well to Love entering the game regaining the lead 17-15 with 4:09 left in the game on a driving layup by Caris LeVert. Cleveland didn’t just regain the lead they built on it. With 3:11 left on the first quarter clock Donovan Mitchell drained a three to put the Cavs up 23-15. The Magic then went on a run in the last couple of minutes of the quarter outscoring the Cavs 10-4 giving Cleveland just a two-point advantage 27-25 when the first quarter buzzer sounded. Mitchell led all scorers in the game with 16 points in the first period. Paolo Banchero led the Magic with nine. The boards were even after one as each team had seven rebounds apiece. The Magic turned the ball over six times resulting in five Cavalier points.

Early in the second quarter not much changed but the Magic did cut the Cavs lead to one point at 37-36 with 6:41 left on the first half clock when Moritz Wagner drove through the paint and scored on a layup. The Cavs immediately took a full timeout as Bickerstaff had seen enough. The Cavs responded by scoring the next five points to increase their lead to 42-36 with 5:33 remaining. Another important development was the third personal foul in the game on Orlando big man Moritz Wagner. Quietly the Cavs built the lead to seven points at halftime with a 54-47 lead. Mitchell only deposited three points in the second quarter but still led all scorers at the break with 19 points. Stevens was next on Cleveland with 8. The Magic had three players in double figures, Banchero and Cole Anthony each had 12 and Moritz Wagner had 10. It remained close on the boards throughout the first half as the Cavs nipped the Magic 18-17 on the glass. Turnovers cost the Magic as they had 11 resulting in 12 Cavaliers points.

The magic cut into the Cavs lead with 7:23 left in the third when Markelle Fultz hit jumper from just outside the paint. Darius Garland responded :21 later when he drained a three at the other end to extend the Cavs lead to 64-55 and force and Orlando timeout. The Cavs built their biggest lead of the game with 3:21 in the quarter when Mitchell drained another three pointer to give the Cavs a 76-62. The previous biggest lead was short lived as with 2:37 left in the third Love drove the lane as if Banchero was not even there (he was) giving the Cavs the 78-62 lead as he laid the ball in the basket and smiled as he returned down the court to play defense looking like he was satisfied with his effort against the highly touted rookie. Cleveland continued adding on extending the lead to 20 at 82-62 with 1:26 left in the period on a fast break when Isaac Okoro made a bullet pass to Cedi Osman who finished the play off with a layup. As the quarter ended the Cavaliers had an 82-64 lead and were in control of the ballgame. In the last two games they seem to have put the third quarter woes behind them. At the end of three Mitchell was 14 points ahead of the next scorer in the game as he knocked 32 points. Banchero led the Magic with 18 points. Cleveland continued to benefit from Orlando mistakes as the Magic turned the ball over four more times resulting in five Cavalier points. Cleveland once again led the battle of the boards outrebounding the Magic 9-8 with an overall edge of 27-25.

The Magic went on a mini 14-7 run to start the fourth quarter capped off by a three pointer by Moritz younger brother Franz Wagner when he drained a 3-pointer to pull the Magic to within 11 points at 89-78 with 8:03 left. Bickerstaff had seen enough and called a fulltime out to squelch the Orlando momentum. The timeout by Bickerstaff did the trick as Cleveland seemed to regain their momentum building the lead back up to 96-80 over the next 2:02. The Cavs could not put the Magic away as they came right back and cut the Cavs lead to 97-85 with 4:44 left in the game. Bickerstaff once again called a timeout not liking what he was seeing. The timeout did not do the trick as the Magic cut the lead to single digits at 97-89 when Moritz Wagner deposited a layup with 3:37 left. Evan Mobley took a little air out of the Orlando comeback with 3:12 left when he drained a long extending the Cavs lead back to 11 at 100-89. The fighting Wagner’s would not go away as the Franz responded with a three for Orlando cutting the lead back to eight points. The Cavs were having none of that as Garland went down to the Cavs end and drained a three of his own pushing the Cavs lead back to 11 at 103-92. The Magic last gasp came with less than a minute remaining when they cut the lead to nine at 105-96. The Cavs failed to score on their next possession but once again the Magic turned the ball over to the Cavs. It was their 18th turnover of the contest resulting in 21 Cleveland points and gave the Cavs 107-96 lead with :34.5 remaining sealing the victory for the Wine & Gold.

Mitchell led everyone in the game in scoring with 34 points. Him and two other Cavs were in double figures, Mobley had 19 and Garland finished with 18. Orlando had five players in double figures in the loss. Banchero led the way with 22. Cole Anthony had 19. The Wagner’s had a combined 32, 16 apiece and Fultz had 10. Orlando ended up winning the battle of the boards outrebound Cleveland 40-32 and 15-5 in the final period. The Cavs had 22 assists led by Garland with six. Eight different Cavs had an assist in the game.

Cleveland will be back in action on Sunday night in New York when they face the Knicks at 6 pm at Madison Square Garden. The visit will be the Cavs first trip to New York this season. They beat the Knicks on October 30 at RMFS 121-108. 
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​POSTED 12/02/2022 22:11
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Evan Mobley & Donovan Mitchell.        Photo by Tommy Shirer