Magic 108, Cavaliers 104

Jameer Nelson and the Orlando Magic proved they’re still
dangerous from long range if they need a big rally.

Nelson had 22 points, Arron Afflalo scored 19 and the Magic made
11 3-pointers in a 108-104 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on
Friday night.

”It means a great deal to me to get this win,” said Glen
Davis, who had 16 points and eight rebounds. ”We need to get as
much games as possible and try to get back to .500 and compete for
the chance to be somewhere in the postseason.

”And also for our confidence and our young guys to make sure
that they can learn and understand what we have to do to take the
win.”

Davis had 10 points in Orlando’s big fourth quarter. Nelson
finished with six assists for the Magic (5-7), who have won two
straight and continue their five-game homestand Sunday against
Boston.

During the height of the Dwight Howard era, Orlando had a
reputation for shooting lots of 3-pointers in some games. That
changed following the arrival of new coach Jacque Vaughn’s more
motion-based system.

But for one night, at least, this new version of the Magic
showed they still remember how to let the ball fly from deep. The
11 3s were a season high.

”You look down at the stat sheet and the minutes and there’s
numbers all over the place, guys contributing in a lot of different
ways,” Vaughn said. ”Another example of how we can play as a
team, band together, rebound together as much as we can, just
getting it to the open guy (and) just keeping it simple.”

Orlando led the league in made 3-pointers each of the last three
seasons, but was making just over four per game this year.

Dion Waiters scored 25 points for Cleveland, and Anderson
Varejao had 19. The Cavaliers have lost seven of eight and face
Miami on Saturday.

Orlando had 16 turnovers in the first half, but just two after
the break.

”I think that was the biggest difference,” Cleveland coach
Byron Scott said. ”We didn’t get up and pressure them like we did
in the first half. … Again, we allowed another team to shoot a
high percentage tonight, and those guys shot the ball pretty
well.”

The Cavs also outscored the Magic 22-8 in the paint in the first
half, but were outscored 32-18 inside in the final 24 minutes.

Saddled with turnover issues in the first half, the Magic
trailed for most of the game but managed to make their surge by
turning some of the Cavaliers’ miscues into easy points. It was
tied headed to the fourth quarter, and there were eight lead
changes in the final 12 minutes.

Afflalo hit a 3-pointer from the wing with less than two minutes
remaining, giving the Magic a 98-94 lead.

A free throw and tip-in by Tyler Zeller trimmed Orlando’s
advantage to a point, but a driving layup by Nikola Vucevic
restored the Magic’s three-point lead at 100-97 with 32.3 seconds
to play.

J.J. Redick hit eight free throws in the final minute to help
the Magic hold on.

The Magic also were continuing an adjustment period of sorts,
with rookie Maurice Harkless receiving his second straight start at
shooting guard, with Afflalo at small forward.

That experiment looks promising, with the athletic Harkless
looking more comfortable and contributing on both sides of the
floor.

The Cavaliers played their second consecutive game without point
guard Kyrie Irving, who is recovering from a broken bone in his
hand.

Jeremy Pargo, coming off a huge effort in his first start of the
year, had 15 points for Cleveland. But he struggled to contain
Nelson, whose outside shooting spread the floor and opened up
Orlando’s offense.

”It was crazy. They were making tough shots,” Waiters said.
”We contested and played defense and I think we played great
defense. But they made a lot of tough shots, especially down the
stretch.”

Waiters said he even tried to resort to other means to shut down
Redick, who had 18 points.

”I tried talking to him and say everything, but he was just
knocking shots down,” Waiters said. ”I was telling him `Can you
miss?’ I was playing but I was serious, like miss a shot
please.”

Vaughn said he hopes his players take an important lesson from
the win.

”It’s that simple of first recognizing that we’re putting
ourselves in a hole because of the turnovers,” he said. ”It’s
just recognition and then just making the simple and easy play.
That’s it.”

NOTES: The Magic have won eight straight games over the Cavs,
including 18 of the last 23 regular-season matchups. … Davis went
flying into the front row of courtside seats and landed on a fan
while chasing a loose ball late in the fourth quarter. But both he
and the spectator were fine, and Davis was able to return to the
action.

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