Cleveland Cavaliers no match for Orlando Magic in 103-83 loss

Orlando Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams (7) blocks a shot by Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla.— Aaron Gordon broke out of a shooting slump with 6-of-9 sniping from 3-point range and scored a season-high 24 points, leading the Orlando Magic to a 103-83 win over the Cavaliers on Monday night.

The Magic (5-2) snapped a two-game losing streak that had followed four consecutive victories to open the season. The Magic made a season-high 15 3-pointers, easily surpassing their previous season high of 11. They entered the game 30th in the NBA in 3-point makes per game with nine.

Gordon entered the game having made just three of 20 3-point attempts. He tied a career best with the six made 3s midway through the third quarter. Gordon scored 13 points in the third as the Magic broke open a close game. He also grabbed a season-best 11 rebounds.

Ahead two points at the break, the Magic outscored the Cavs 38-18 in the third quarter, pushing their lead to 89-67. The Magic made six of 10 shots from beyond the arc in the third quarter and posted their second-highest scoring quarter of the season.

Nikola Vucevic scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Terrence Ross chipped in 15 points off the bench. Khem Birch added 12 points and 12 rebounds, and rookie guard Cole Anthony added nine points, five rebounds and four assists.

The Cavs lost their fifth in a row to the Magic, a streak that dates to 2019. The Cavaliers are 1-3 since starting the season 3-0.

Cavs guard Collin Sexton scored 24 points and tied LeBron James’ franchise record for consecutive games with at least 20 points to open a season. Sexton, who came into Monday 10th in the NBA in scoring at 26 points per game, has scored at least 20 points in all seven games. James scored at least 20 in seven in a row to open the 2004-05 season.

Cedi Osman scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half and added seven rebounds and seven assists. Andre Drummond had 10 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh consecutive double-double.

The Magic were once again without starters Evan Fournier (back spasms) and James Ennis (strained hamstring/calf).

Monday’s game started horribly for the short-handed Cavs. Already without starters Kevin Love (calf strain), Darius Garland (shoulder strain) and Isaac Okoro (foot sprain), the Cavs lost guard Dante Exum to a left leg injury just 47 seconds in. The Cavs then missed their first four shots and turned the ball over four times, falling behind 10-0.


Cavaliers: In an attempt to reduce travel and exposure to the COVID-19 virus, the NBA is having teams occasionally play two-game sets in the same city. Coming into Monday, there had been eight instances so far where the same teams played consecutively in the same city. In those eight instances, there were five splits and three sweeps — all of the sweeps by the visiting team. “First off, it’s good to be in Orlando where it’s 65 degrees and sunny,’’ Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. ”But it’s fun because it almost turns into a playoff scenario because you get an opportunity to prepare for the same opponent.’’

Magic: Magic coach Steve Clifford chatted with Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera on Monday morning to congratulate him on getting Washington to the NFL playoffs. Clifford and Rivera are close friends from their time together in Charlotte — the former with the Hornets and the latter while coaching the Panthers. “We communicated this morning and we have a good friendship,” Clifford said. “He’s a great coach and a tremendous human being. They’ve had a phenomenal season after a tough start. His teams always get better and better.’’

Up next

The Magic host the Cavs again on Wednesday. The Magic have won five in a row and eight of 11 against the Cavs.

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