Orlando Visits As Cavaliers Close Out Home Schedule Sunday
By Zac Jackson
Fox Sports Ohio
April 10, 2010
Previewing Sunday’s Cavaliers-Magic game…
THE DETAILS: Magic at Cavaliers in a battle of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams, Sunday, 1 p.m., Quicken Loans Arena. ABC has the national broadcast.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: For the Cavaliers, nothing. LeBron James and some other Cavalier starters are likely to sit with everything clinched and the playoffs set to open next weekend. The Magic enter Sunday’s game with the exact same record (56-23) as the Lakers, and they want to finish ahead of L.A. to ensure themselves home-court advantage should there be an NBA Finals rematch. These two teams are expected by many to meet again in the Eastern Conference Finals, but this one is merely a scrimmage.
THE SERIES: The Cavaliers have won two of the three meetings this season including a 115-106 win in Cleveland on February 15. The Magic won the most recent one, 101-95, in Orlando just six days later. The Magic have won nine of the last 14 regular-season meetings; the teams have split the last six in Cleveland.
THE SKINNY: The Cavaliers have lost two straight with James sitting, and he was joined on the sideline by Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams Friday night against the Pacers. With Shaquille O’Neal (thumb) still not cleared to return, that means the Cavaliers were without their four leading scorers. Scoring wasn’t the problem — defense was — in a 116-113 loss, but the Cavaliers continue to see progress from J.J. Hickson (21 points, 10 rebounds) as well as a late push for playoff minutes from Jamario Moon, who could be asked to spend some time defending Rashard Lewis should the Cavs and Orlando meet again. Hickson vs. Dwight Howard (at least for a time) is a nice battle to watch in this one.
BOMBS AWAY: Orlando is shooting. 375 for the year from beyond the arc, third-best in the league. With 808 made 3-pointers, the Magic are just 29 short of the NBA all-time record set by Phoenix in 2005-06. They’ve made at least three 3-pointers in every game this season.
NOTES: Backup point guard Sebastian Telfair had 21 points in just his second game with the Cavaliers Friday night. He’ll likely get more minutes in the Cavaliers’ two remaining games as Williams will likely sit at least one more and Daniel Gibson is battling a foot injury…The Magic will leave Cleveland Sunday and head straight to Indiana for a game with the Pacers Monday. They close the regular season Wednesday at home against Philadelphia…The Cavaliers close the regular season Wednesday at Atlanta.