Coming off an impressive 108-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night, Orlando looked to continue its winning ways when it traveled north to Cleveland Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers, whom has lost four games in a row heading into the contest versus the Magic, have been in a slump since the return of point guard Isaiah Thomas to the lineup.
Orlando nearly picked up its second win of the season against an aging Cleveland lineup, as the Magic almost erased a 20-point deficit em route to a 104-103 loss on the road. The Magic now fall to 13-32 on the season and head out east to face the conference leading Boston Celtics on Sunday. Game is slated for 1 p.m. at TD Garden in Boston.
The Magic played one of its more complete games of the new year, as Frank Vogel’s crew was able to hold LeBron James to a mere 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field. Leading the way for Cleveland was Thomas, who led the Cavaliers with 21 points on the night.
”I’m disappointed for our guys,” Vogel said about the loss to Cleveland. ”I felt like they deserved the victory. We didn’t get the breaks down the stretch.”
Most of the breaks went somewhat in favor of the Cavaliers, with the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seeded team behind the Celtics and Toronto Raptors. Cleveland’s struggles have been well documented as of late, with many national media members stating they do not believe a fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals is in the cards for the Cavaliers.
Another example of their struggles was on display versus a Magic team that’s 2-8 in their last 10 games. Despite the loss, Orlando got some key contributions from most of its starters, including Elfrid Payton (19 points, eight assists), Evan Fournier (17 points), Aaron Gordon (17 points) and Jonathan Simmons (16 points).