The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Orlando Magic Wednesday night (December 6, 2023) 111-121. Through the big leads and the big scorers, here’s a look back at Cleveland’s performance in this early December matchup.
Cleevalena went with a starting lineup of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
The Cavaliers looked good early, getting out to a 20-37 lead by the end of the first quarter. Although the Magic were able to get back some momentum, out scoring the Cavaliers 32-28, they weren’t able to catch the Cavs as the score was 52-65 entering halftime. The difference remained the same entering the fourth (86-99), and the final result was a 111-121 Cleveland victory.
Leading the pack we have Mitchell with another scoring outburst. He finished with 35 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a steal while shooting 50 percent from the field. Although he did commit four turnovers, his passing is still looking like that of a high quality point guard. Garland also had a great outing, finishing with 26 points, nine assists and three rebounds. Strus finished with 17 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Georges Niang was one of the more effective Cavaliers in this game. He finished with 10 points, five rebounds. This might not seem like much, but he’s starting to settle back into his deep ball. He’s primarily been a spot up shooter throughout his career, but entered this game having scored about a third of his buckets from within 10 feet of the basket. His ability to stretch the floor helped the Cavs on their first half run. He did pull some surprises out of his bag, such as when he faked a handoff pass and turned and hit a quick long jumper, so hopefully he can continue to improve.
Evan Mobley also had a solid outing, but had the rare night this season where he didn’t finish with a double double. He finished with 16 points, five rebounds and two assists.
The Cavs looked great the first half, Mitchell alone had 20 points, but lost a little luster after their initial big scoring outburst. After outscoring the Magic by 17 points in the first quarter, the Magic tied or out scored the Cavs for the next three quarters. They didn’t score enough to snatch the lead, but this has been a recurring theme in recent Cavs games. They get a lead and seem to lay off the gas a little (excluding the play-in tournament qualifying game) which will bite them in the postseason. They’ve had games in which this hasn’t been an issue at all, such as the Portland game to qualify for the play-in tournament, but that’s because a large point differential was needed. While this does show they’ll play like this when they need to, they’ll need to play like this all the time if they wanna sit atop this eastern conference.
Defensively the Cavs were mostly able to lock the Magic down. The exceptions being Paolo Banchero (career high 42 points), Clothe Anthony (19 points) and Franz Wagner (14 points). Only two other players managed to score in the double digits, and they each had 11.
While this game did show that the Cavs can score in bunches against one of the better defensive teams in the league, it also showed that they can lock a team almost across the board. They still need to work on their lead management, defensive vulnerabilities, and turnover rate. This was an overall step in the right direction for the Cavaliers, though.
The Cavs next game is this Friday December 8, 2023 in Miami. They’ll look to take down the Heat at 8:00 PM.
Featured photo courtesy of NBA.com
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