Magic 111, Cavaliers 100
Byron Scott was angry about losing to the Orlando Magic - and in his opinion, three other guys.
Dwight Howard had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Jameer Nelson scored 20 points, and the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-100 on Friday night for their sixth win in seven games.
Cleveland has lost six of its last eight. The Cavs trailed by double digits for most of the game, but that wasn't what had their coach upset.
''It's hard when you're playing against eight people,'' Scott said. ''There are five white jerseys and three with stripes. It's hard to play against all of them out there.
''I know there's going to be some bad calls. That's part of the game, they're human. But not for 48 minutes. When you ask them a question about certain calls, it's 'I really don't know. I can't guess. I really don't know.'''
And Scott's response to that?
''Get another job!''
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, whose team entered the game giving up the second-fewest points in the NBA, wasn't satisfied with its defensive effort. Orlando shot 55.6 percent, but the Magic couldn't put away the game until the final minutes because of defensive lapses.
''We were terrible defensively, absolutely terrible,'' Van Gundy said. ''It's the same old thing with us right now. When the scoring is easy, we won't guard and that's why we can't put games away.''
The good news for the Magic was the fact they got some rhythm from beyond the 3-point line. Quentin Richardson hit four straight 3-pointers in the second quarter on his way to 14 points. J.J. Redick hit three of six from behind the line and had 15 points while subbing for the injured Vince Carter for the second straight game. Overall, Orlando hit 14-of-31 shots from 3-point land.
''Guys might have felt like there was a lid on the basket for a while this season, but it's coming off,'' said Nelson, who had a pair of 3-pointers while hitting nine of 13 shots. ''History doesn't lie. We've got good shooters and we've proved it in the past. It's coming around.''
Antawn Jamison came off the bench to score 22 points and Mo Williams contributed 20 for the Cavaliers, who fell behind by 12 early in the second quarter and couldn't get the deficit under 10 the rest of the game.
Cleveland trailed 105-92 with 3:03 left in the game when the Cavs decided to intentionally foul Howard on three straight possessions. He missed his first three free throw attempts, then made the next three before the Cavs abandoned the strategy. Howard was 13 of 24 from the free throw line for the game.
The Magic had an 11-point advantage starting the final quarter, and though it never went under 10, they couldn't put away the game until Nelson drilled a 20-footer to give Orlando a 110-97 lead with 1:42 left.
Orlando hit four of eight attempts from 3-point land in the first period and shot 63 percent from the field while running out to a 32-22 lead. Howard had 12 points in the quarter from inside the paint and Nelson contributed 10, including a pair of 3-pointers.
The second quarter was more of the same, with Richardson hitting all four of his 3-point tries and the Magic going up by as many as 17 before setting for a 62-49 halftime edge.
Cleveland stayed within striking distance by getting a little something from everyone who played. Ten of the 11 players who played in the half scored at least one basket, but none could establish enough rhythm to lead a comeback. Williams, who had 10 points despite hitting only two of six field goal attempts, was the only Cav to reach double figures by halftime.
Back-to-back driving layups from Nelson gave Orlando an 81-63 advantage with 4:43 left in the third period, but the Cavs weren't done. Jamison started an 11-4 run with a layup and finished it with a long jumper as Cleveland pulled within 85-74 by the end of the quarter.
NOTES: Lewis was 9 of 11 on 3-point attempts in three games before making only two of six against the Cavs. Cavs F J.J. Hickson, the team's third-leading scorer, hasn't reached double figures in his last six games.