It’s been well chronicled by the national media about the recent struggles of the Cleveland Cavaliers, whom have represented the NBA’s Eastern Conference in the last three NBA Finals. Tuesday night was supposed to be the time Cleveland overcomes many of the deficiencies it’s had over the past few weeks.
From the lack of defense to lackadaisical play throughout the game. Orlando fell behind by as many as 21 points during the first half, but one of its key additions came to the forefront in the second half.
Magic forward Jonathan Simmons scored a career-high 34 points, with 22 of those coming in the third period, as Orlando cruised by the Cavaliers 116-98 at the Amway Center. Orlando is now 5-5 in its last 10 games and is starting to play the brand of basketball it started off the season with.
”To be honest, adrenaline was just going and I didn’t even realize what was going on,” Simmons said about his performance. ”I was just trying to play hard and trying not to have another setback.”
Cleveland (30-22) on the other hand took a turn for the worse, with the team having to turnaround and face the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom sit in the No. 4 position in the Western Conference. LeBron James finished with no rebounds or assists in the second half against Orlando. James ended the night with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Orlando completely outhustled Cleveland in the second half, in which the Magic ended the evening out-rebounding the Cavaliers 50-35 and holding a 27-19 advantage in assists dished out. The Magic were able to hold the rest of the Cavaliers team outside of James to 12 points or less. Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Jeff Green each scored 12 points, respectively.
If Cleveland overcomes the obstacles of the East, they’ll have to get through a decent field ahead of them that includes the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. Orlando is set to take the court again at home on Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.