The Cavaliers(4-4) got the start they wanted against the Magic on Wednesday night. The undermanned Cavaliers led by eight after the first quarter, but they were outscored 68-41 in the second and third quarters, and they would fall to the Magic 105-94.
With the loss, the Magic(5-2) swept the two-game home series against the Cavaliers. Orlando defeated the Cavaliers 103-83 on Monday.
On Wednesday, Terrence Ross led the Magic with 20 points off the bench, Dwayne Bacon poured in 19 points for Orlando. Cleveland’s Collin Sexton had a game-high 21 points.
Coming into this game against the Magic, Cleveland was depleted. They were missing their second-leading scorer in Darius Garland(shoulder), Kevin Love(calf), Dante Exum(calf), Dylan Windler(wrist), and Matthew Dellavedova(concussion). The Cavaliers top three ball-handlers were not available on Wednesday, so while they got off to a good start, the Cavaliers did not have the personnel to keep the lead.
“We’re having a hard time on the offensive end of the floor right now,” Cavs head coach J.B Bickerstaff said after the game. “Shots aren’t falling, we’re missing bunnies at the rim, we’re missing open looks. That makes it difficult. 105 points you give up. It gives you an opportunity to be in the game. It gives you an opportunity to win the game, but right now, we’re having a hard time on the offensive end. It’s on me to find easier ways for us to score and take the pressure off our guys.”
Sexton added: “We know what we’re down; we know what we’re facing right now, and that’s injuries. We know injuries are going to happen, but we have to continue to stay positive at the end of the day. We just have to stay positive, next man up.”
Despite the injuries, Bickerstaff is going to make sure his players continue to compete.
“If the last nine months, ten months, today, don’t set your priorities right, we show up, and we’ll go to work every single day,” he said. ‘There’s a lot of other people dealing with a lot worse stuff, so we’ll keep our guys positive; we’ll keep our guys upbeat, and we’ll keep coming out, and we’ll keep competing.”
Cleveland has two more games left on their six-game road trip, including Thursday’s game against the Grizzlies. With a limited roster, guys are going to have to step up, and the Cavaliers are going to have to find ways to win games.
Orlando’s Markelle Fultz left the game in the first quarter with a torn ACL in his left knee. The former number one overall pick in the 2017 draft recently signed a three-year, $50 million extension with the Magic. Fultz will miss the remainder of the season.