The Cavaliers hoped to break a three-game losing streak as they hosted the Orlando Magic Monday night.
Cleveland had their largest lead of 20 points in the second quarter, but the Magic would grab the lead in the third. However, the Cavs would pull away in the fourth and win 107-101 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The seventh-seeded Cavs(42-33) snap their three-game losing streak and remain one game behind the sixth-seeded Raptors(43-32), who beat the Celtics in OT Monday night, and the fifth–seeded Bulls(43-32), who fell to the Knicks last night.
Cleveland has now clinched a winning season for the first time since 2018 and for the first time since 1998 without LeBron James.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Magic.
The Great for the Cavs:
-Darius Garland had game-highs of 25 points and 12 assists to go along with three steals, and he took over late in the fourth. Cleveland led 95-92 with under four minutes to go, and Garland hit a floater, made a three, and assisted on an alley-oop dunk from Lauri Markkanen to put the Cavs up 102-92 with just over a minute left in the game. This was Garland”s 10th double-double in the month of March.
-Kevin Love came off the bench and got things done for Cleveland. Love scored 14 of his 19 points in the second quarter, including three of his four made threes. At one point, he scored eight straight for the Cavs in the second. Love, who added seven rebounds and three assists, leads Cleveland with 164 threes made this season.
-Lauri Markkanen had 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and gave the Cavs the lead for good with three at the 4:37 mark of the fourth.
-Dylan Windler spent more time in the G League than the NBA this season, but he took advantage of his opportunity Monday night. Windler had six points and nine rebounds, and he was on the court for the final 5-plus minutes of the game. He also won the “Junkyard Dog” award.
The First 3:49 of the Second Quarter: Cleveland began the second quarter on an 18-3 run to take a 20-point lead(largest of the game). During that run, Love had eight points, and Garland added five. However, the Magic would outscore the Cavs 28-15 the rest of the quarter, and Cleveland would lead 60-53 at the break.
The Not So Great for the Cavs:
Evan Mobley left in the second quarter and did not return after spraining his left ankle. The injury did not look good as Mobley had a noticeable limp, but hopefully, it’s not too serious. The Cavs can’t afford to be without two of the anchors of their defense in Mobley and Jarret Allen.
According ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the X-Rays on Mobley’s sprained left ankle were negative.
Turnovers: Cleveland had 15 turnovers, which led to 27 points for Orlando.
The Cavs got a win, which is all that matters. It wasn’t their best effort, but again, it’s a win. Now, hopefully, they won’t be without Mobley for too long. They took an emotional hit when the Rookie-of-the-Year favorite went down, which they acknowledged post game.
This team has fought injuries all year long, and at this point, they are still standing.
Now, they have to find a will and a way to get that sixth seed with seven games left in the regular season to avoid the Play-in Tournament.
“It gutted us to lose Evan, whether it’s for a game, two games, three games, or whatever it may be,” Love said post-game.
Cleveland concludes their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Best of the Rest:
-The Magic had seven players in double figures as Wendell Carter Jr. led the way with a team-high 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
-Isaac Okoro added 11 points for the Cavs.
-Before the game, the Cavaliers announced that forward Dean Wade, who missed the previous seven games dating back to March 14th, underwent successful surgery to treat ongoing issues with the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
In addition, the team announced that guard Rajon Rondo (Right Ankle Sprain) and Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (Left 3rd Finger Fracture) remain out.
Watch below as Garland reacts to win over the Magic: