Instant Take: Orlando performs same magic act

When the Orlando Magic see Wine & Gold, they make shots. Lots of
them, and usually far from the basket.

As was the
case during the Dwight Howard era, the Magic buried the Cavaliers on
Friday with some serious sniping from beyond the three-point arc, from
the free-throw line, from everywhere in between. In the end, the host
Magic escaped with 108-104 victory.

They have now won
10 straight in the series and 11 of 13 in
Orlando.

On this night, the Magic did it by nailing
52 percent (11-for-21) of their three-pointers and 85 percent
(17-for-20) of their free throws. That included seven straight from
guard J.J. Redick to seal the game.

Overall, the
Magic went 40-for-80 from the floor.

Basically,
Howard is gone, former coach Stan Van Gundy is gone, and Magic forward
and Cavs killer Hedo Turkoglu was on the bench with an injured hand. But the results were the same.

Of course, Magic point
guard Jameer Nelson is still here, and he proved more than anyone that
this matchup could be the same as it ever was — scoring 22 points on
9-for-18 shooting, including 4-for-8 on threes. Redick added 18 and the
unconscious Arron Afflalo tallied 19. Word is, his eyes were even open
for a few of them.

Meanwhile, the Cavs played their
second game (and first on the road) minus Kyrie Irving, who’s out with a
broken finger. Irving is the Cavs’ leading scorer, their Mr.
Everything, and the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the
Year.

So this year’s prized rookie, guard Dion
Waiters, took it upon himself to give the Cavs (3-9) a fighting chance.
Waiters scored a game-high 25 points while doing his share of running
the offense. Perhaps more impressive than his scoring output was the
fact Waiters played 37 minutes without committing a
turnover.

He also hooked up with fellow rookie and
center Tyler Zeller (13 points) on several occasions, giving the Cavs a
promising glimpse of the future. As for the present, well, it just
wasn’t enough.

Anderson Varejao compiled his third
consecutive double-double, and seventh of the season, with 19 points and
17 rebounds. Jeremy Pargo scored 15 in Irving’s place, and Alonzo Gee
and Omri Casspi had 12 and 11 points,
respectively.

Things only get tougher, as the Cavs
(3-9) are at defending champion Miami on
Saturday.

Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO