Instant Take: Orlando performs same magic act
Nov 23, 2012 at 8:49p ET
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.
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