The Cleveland Cavaliers continue their dominance over the Orlando Magic on Friday night at the Amway Center in in Orlando, Florida. Victor Oladipo didn’t make it easy for LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the wine and gold to extend their win streak over the Magic to 14. Oladipo poured in a career high 45 points. The Cavaliers also lost an eleven point lead in the second half, but stepped up on defense down the stretch and pulled out a 109-103 victory. With the win, Cleveland becomes the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot.
The Cavaliers are now 30 games above the .500 mark at 49-19 and maintain their two game lead for the top seed in the Eastern Conference over the Toronto Raptors. Irving stepped up in the fourth quarter by scoring ten of his team high 26 points in the final 12 minutes of basketball. Irving was in more of a sharing mode with the basketball as well with five assists. Irving was criticized for having just one assist in Wednesday night’s 99-98 win over the Dallas Mavericks with James having the night off.
James wasn’t a big factor scoring the basketball on Friday night, but his impact was felt elsewhere. James took on 15 shots, connecting on only six of them, while hitting all six of his free throw attempts for 18 points. James added seven rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a blocked shot to fill out his stat line for the game.
Kevin Love was the only other member of the starting five to reach double figures in scoring. Love had 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Love was three of five from three point territory. J.R. Smith only attempted seven shots on the night. Smith knocked down three of them including two of five from behind the three point line. Smith finished with eight points.
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue went back to Timofey Mozgov as the team’s starting center on Friday night. After not playing at all on Wednesday night against Dallas, Mozgov scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds in 13 minutes of action. With the Cavaliers going to more of a smaller lineup, there will be nights that Mozgov will see little to no playing time as the season rolls on.
With Mozgov starting at center, Tristan Thompson went back to the bench to provide some much needed energy. Thompson did just that as he recorded another double double with eleven points and pulling down a game high 15 rebounds. Thompson also recorded two blocked shots, both of them in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line, to go along with a game high four steals.
The Cavaliers played a ten man rotation on Friday night to matchup with a small Orlando lineup which was without their starting center Nikola Vucevic. Channing Frye returned to Orlando for the first time since being traded to the Cavaliers at last month’s trade deadline. Frye hurt his former team, by leading the Cavaliers bench bunch with 14 points on five of eight shooting, four of six from three point territory.
Iman Shumpert had eight points with three rebounds, two assists and a steal off the bench, Richard Jefferson added two points and Matthew Dellavedova had just one point but did grab four rebounds.
Outside of Oladipo’s career night, the Magic didn’t get much scoring production. Only two other Orlando players finished in double figures in points. Evan Fourier was the only other Magic starter in double figures with 18 points. Jason Smith lead the Magic bench with ten points.
The Cavaliers finished the game shooting an even fifty percent. Cleveland wraps up their weekend getaway to the sunshine state with a stop in Miami as LeBron faces his former team the Heat on Saturday night. James is expected to play against Dwyane Wade and company after being held out of the first meeting down on South Beach back in December.