Cavaliers-Magic Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers have managed to string together some

victories at home recently. It remains to be seen if they can carry

their play over to the road, where they’ve struggled all

season.

They seek just their second road victory on Friday night against

the Orlando Magic, who suddenly find themselves much healthier.

Cleveland (8-13) won for the fourth time in five games Tuesday,

109-94 over the struggling New York Knicks. Kyrie Irving scored 37

points – including 12 in a third quarter in which the Cavaliers

outscored the Knicks 33-20 – and added 12 assists. All four of

those victories have come in Cleveland, where they’re 7-3 compared

to the NBA’s worst road record of 1-10.

Away from home, opponents are shooting 47.2 percent compared to

42.1 percent in Cleveland. The disparity in 3-point shooting is

even larger with 40.6 percent on the road and 30.7 percent at home.

Cleveland has allowed at least 103 points in five of its last six

road games.

The Cavaliers have also struggled recently in Orlando, dropping

nine of their last 11 there.

“We need to play with more intensity (on the road),” coach Mike

Brown told the team’s website. “We need to understand that shots

aren’t always going to go in. And we have to accept that, which is

hard for a young team. We have to accept that that’s the reality of

playing on the road in this business and we really have to hang our

hat on our identity which is on the defensive end of the

floor.”

The Magic (7-15) started their six-game trip 0-5 before winning

92-83 in Charlotte on Wednesday. Nikola Vucevic tallied 12 points

and 14 rebounds after missing four games with a sprained left

ankle. He helped Orlando claim a 52-41 rebounding edge after the

team had been outrebounded by an average of 17.5 per game without

him.

“We needed this one. We needed it bad,” said Glen Davis, who had

17 points and 12 rebounds and also missed Orlando’s first 11 games

due to a foot injury.

“We are a good team. We just all got to be healthy, you know

what I mean? Look at what Nik did out there today. We’ve been

missing that. It’s been tough for us in the paint. He loosens

everything up for me, most definitely. Him being a factor out

there, people have to guard him and also he’s going to get rebounds

and help us with fast-break points.”

Orlando may be even stronger Friday with the potential return of

Tobias Harris. The team is hopeful he can play after missing all

but one game due to a sprained left ankle. He averaged 17.3 points

and 8.5 rebounds over 27 games for the Magic after being acquired

from Milwaukee on Feb. 21.

“If it (ankle) reacts well after today’s practice, then I think

it will be OK to say that I will be out there in the game

tomorrow,” he told the team’s website.

Irving is shooting 37.7 percent in his last five games against

the Magic, though he’s averaging 9.0 assists in the last three.

Arron Afflalo is averaging 19.2 points and shooting 56.8 percent

from the floor over his last six versus Cleveland.