Dribbles: Rolling Cavs must be cautious vs. reeling Magic
Tipoff: Amway Center, Orlando, 6 p.m.
Records: Cavaliers 42-25; Magic 21-46.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio/NBA TV. Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 FM La Mega, AM 1590 WAKR (Akron)
Cavaliers: C Timofey Mozgov; PF Kevin Love; SF LeBron James; SG J.R. Smith; PG Kyrie Irving.
Magic: C Nikola Vucevic; PF Dewayne Dedmon; SF Tobias Harris; SG Victor Oladipo; PG Elfrid Payton.
Cavaliers: SF Shawn Marion (hip) questionable; C Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out.
Magic: G/F Evan Fournier (hip) out; SG Willie Green (back) questionable; G Devyn Marble (eye) out.
1. This could be a tricky one. The Cavs have been unbelievably hot and coming off a couple days rest. Plus, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they’re a little less motivated than usual to face the Magic. Not saying I think the Cavs will lose. But the Magic are due to win at some point, they’re at home, and they are in the NBA. And in the NBA, any team can beat any team on any given night. That’s why the playoffs are best-of-seven. The best team has the best chance to win. Not always the case in the regular season.
2. And, of course, everyone is always fired up to face LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the rest.
3. That said, the Magic are extremely young and young teams don’t often get very far. They need the Cavs to play poorly to have a chance. But in a few years, with a decent coach, the Magic could be a force.
4. Right now, the Magic are coached by interim man James Borrego. I’ve covered this league for 20 years and never once heard of Borrego until he got the job. That’s OK. I’m sure he’s never once heard of me, either.
5. Borrego had some great comments after Friday’s loss to Boston, the Magic’s third straight. And by "great comments," I mean he managed to tie in the team’s nickname, probably without even trying.
6. Here is what the Magic coach said: "There’s no magic pill. There’s no magic scheme. There’s no magic defense. There’s no magic offense."
7. See what I mean?
8. Anyway, the Cavs are an NBA-best 23-5 since Jan. 15. In that same span, the Magic are an Eastern Conference-worst 6-19. In their last 25 games, the Magic have defeated just one team with a winning record (Pelicans).
9. By the way, Cavs coach David Blatt said he’s hopeful Shawn Marion will return to the lineup for this one. Marion has missed the last 12 games with a hip strain. Doesn’t it seem like forever ago that Marion was the team’s starting shooting guard? Or that Dion Waiters was on the team?
10. One of my all-time favorite people to cover and an all-around great guy is questionable for the Magic. That would be none other than veteran Willie Green — one of four NBA players who follow me on Twitter (that I know of, anyway). Green is 33 years old and playing for a young team that’s finding its way. Yet he’s never once complained or loafed or tried to search for a way out. When this team starts winning, it will likely be thankful that it had a guy like Green in the locker room at this stage.
11. OK, back to the Cavs. They are an amazing 34-5 when scoring at least 100 points. That includes 20 of their previous 21 when hitting the century mark. Clippers play-by-play man Ralph Lawler has a saying: "First team to 100 wins." In the Cavs’ case, that’s almost always true.