ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Magic dashed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff hopes on Tuesday evening.
Given what was at stake, with so few video games remaining within the common season, clinging to hopes of a season-ending miracle to make the highest 6, the Cavs suffered their hardest loss ever. disappointing run of the season in opposition to the stressed Magic, 120-115. Orlando entered the evening having misplaced six straight video games. Cleveland’s position in match play was sealed after Toronto beat Atlanta.
“There’s no forgetting on this league,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff stated after the loss. “It’s each evening, the stakes are on the road and the naked minimal we ask of our guys is to outplay the person in entrance of them. Tonight, time and time once more, they outplayed us. They outplayed us. Give give them credit score. However it’s disappointing that it’s the hassle we made tonight.
The Cavs began scorching, outscoring the Magic, 14-3, within the opening minutes. However they couldn’t bear it.
In a recreation that featured 13 lead adjustments and 6 attracts, Orlando led by 5 going into the fourth quarter. He pushed that benefit to a excessive of 10 with lower than seven minutes left. After the Cavs fought again, the lead went to 10 as soon as once more after 4 minutes. However Cleveland made one final push, led by All-Star level guard Darius Garland.
The group chief, who has talked about elevating his stage of play presently of yr, went 11-4. Lauri Markkanen had an open 3-pointer over the break that will have tied the sport with round 48 seconds left. Solely Markkanen missed and Ignas Brazdeikis, taking part in rather than the injured Franz Wagner who left the sport after simply 9 minutes, gave Orlando a five-point lead on a backhand.
Garland scored or assisted on Cleveland’s first six pictures and 9 of 10 within the fourth quarter. He accounted for 22 of 29 factors within the fourth, attempting to save lots of the Cavs from a crushing loss.
As a substitute, the Magic sealed the win on the free throw line, hitting three of 4 within the ultimate 10 seconds.
“This Magic group, they by no means hand over,” Bickerstaff stated. “You watch the film about them, whatever the circumstances, they compete in opposition to the grain they usually play the sport collectively, whatever the rating. So we knew they had been going to have their probability. How did we managed, what we supported, how we did what we did to achieve success, it simply wasn’t there. It’s one thing we clearly need to be taught. We preserve hoping to flip a change. However each time we attempt to flip a change, it bites our ass.
Garland completed with a game-high 27 factors, together with 13 in fourth. He added 10 assists and 6 rebounds. Markkanen added 25, going 6 of 12 to three factors. Kevin Love added 17 factors and 13 rebounds. Heart Moses Brown additionally recorded a double-double, his third within the final 4 video games. Brown had 10 factors and 12 boards.
The Magic, which did not attain the 90-point mark within the earlier two video games, shredded Cleveland’s weak protection all through. They shot 50.5% from the sphere and 45.7% from exterior the arc, reaching 16 3s.
“It wasn’t us. It wasn’t Cavaliers basketball,” Markkanen stated. “We are able to’t await the fourth quarter to attempt to make a comeback or something. I felt that the final 5 minutes, the depth with which we performed in protection, was form of the place it wanted to be for the 48 minutes. Clearly a disappointing loss. Extra importantly, as a result of we haven’t performed to our requirements that we’ve got in protection and assault. Clearly, it was a giant recreation for us.
“You possibly can see within the locker room everybody feels the identical manner, everybody is aware of we should always have gained the sport and we’ve got much more to play for than them in the mean time.”
Orlando heart Mo Bamba, who began 5 of 5 from deep, had a team-high 21 factors. Brazdeikis completed with 20. In all, eight gamers reached double figures, together with 5 members of the Orlando bench. The Magic’s reserves outscored Cleveland’s, 66-37.
The Cavs, losers of seven of their final 9, have been locked in not less than the play-in match for weeks – a battle between the numbers 7-10 beginning April 12. However Tuesday’s puzzling loss, mixed with a sluggish finish to the season, ensured that was their solely path to the playoffs.
“There are 82 video games in a season and it’s going to occur,” Bickerstaff stated when requested about his stage of concern. “We simply picked the unsuitable time for this to occur.”
To go up
Along with his first area objective made on Tuesday evening — a 14-foot jumper — Love handed Larry Nance Sr. for the lone possession for ninth place on Cleveland’s all-time scoring listing.
The Cavs may have a couple of days off in Orlando earlier than heading to Brooklyn for the ultimate highway recreation of the season in opposition to the Nets on Friday evening. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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