Coming off an overtime thriller Sunday against Washington, the Cavs (2-1) were looking to carry their momentum on Wednesday against the young Orlando Magic (0-4), and they did just that, defeating the Magic 103-92 in a defensive affair.
Dean Wade made the start at the small forward for the first time this season, replacing Isaac Okoro, who had been filling in at the '3' while Darius Garland has been out with an eye injury he suffered during the first game of the season against the Raptors. The Cavs offense, which had gotten off to slow starts in their first three contests, was anything but in the first quarter against Orlando. They scored 12 in the first six minutes, including six from Caris LeVert.
After the first TV timeout, both teams went cold from the field, only scoring a combined six points over the next two minutes of action. Jarrett Allen helped break a 14-14 tie with a massive slam on a LeVert assist. Cedi Osman chipped in with eight points off the bench, as the team held a 30-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the first, they shot 48% from the field, including 5/8 from three. Kevin Love led the team with four rebounds.
Evan Mobley kicked off the scoring in quarter No. 2 with a nice layup, followed by an Isaac Okoro deuce following a Donovan Mitchell assist, extending the Cavs lead to double digits. A 6-0 Orlando run led by Franz Wagner and No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero forced J.B. Bickerstaff to call a timeout two and a half minutes into the period.
After the timeout, Mobley made a great block on Wagner to save a possession for the Wine and Golders. He then had a nice layup on the other end to give the Cavs a 36-33 lead with just over eight minutes to go in the half. The teams would essentially trade baskets over the next five minutes, with Orlando hitting one more from behind-the-arc than the Cavs, as the game was tied at 46 with 3:33 to go until the break.
After allowing the first four points following a timeout, the Cavs went on an 8-0 run to end the first half, including a wicked dunk by Mitchell off a missed Love 3-point attempt. They led at the half 54-50. In the half, they shot 48% from the field, but 42% (8/19) from deep. Osman and Wade had 19 combined points, helping out their teammates as Mitchell, Mobley and Allen also combined for 19 points, They left some opportunities at the free-throw line, only going 6/11. LeVert and Mitchell each had six assists, and Allen and Love each racked up a team-leading five boards through the first 24 minutes of play.
For the Magic, Wagner scored 14 while Banchero put up 11. As a team, they shot exactly 52% (21/42) from the floor, including 2/8 from three. They went 6/9 from the free-throw line. It was a even first half, and one the Cavs would have to continue to scratch and claw to get the win inside of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Three minutes into the third, and the teams combined to shoot 2/10 from the field. A Caris LeVert broke the ice with a three, followed by an Evan Mobley layup gave the Cavs an early seven point advantage early in the period. Then, the quarter turned into the quarter of #31 Jarrett Allen.
Two Allen buckets, including one off of an offensive rebound, extended the lead to nine. The second bucket in the stretch gave Allen a double-double at 11 points and 10 boards. He then proceeded with a massive dunk over two Magic defenders to give the Cavs a nine point lead with less than five minutes to play in the quarter. The Magic would cut the Cavs lead to four, 73-69, at quarter's end.
In the third, both teams scored only 19 points. The Cavs outshot the Magic 39% to 33% as the defensive struggle continued. The Cavs shot 1/11 from deep in the period
Going into the fourth, the Cavs were looking to just hang on. The quarter started with a nice dunk from Mobley off a lob from Osman. Wade would extend the lead to seven with a three, but Banchero would respond right back with a three of his own, putting the rookie's total at 21 points for the evening to date with 8:30 to go. Cedi Osman would make three key free-throws on the next two possessions to extend the lead to 84-77.
The Cavs would challenge a foul call on Caris LeVert that would be overturned, leading to another big slam by Allen to give the team a nine point advantage. An Allen offensive rebound led to a foul after a missed Osman layup. The big man once again made his presence known with his sixth offensive rebound, splitting the free-throws. Banchero came down and stopped the bleeding for Orlando with two free-throws.
Halfway through the last quarter, Cleveland held an 87-80 lead. Up 88-83 with 3:39 to go, Osman made a key and-one basket to extend the lead to eight, and they never looked back from that point on, finishing off the Magic 103-92.
It was a team effort Wednesday night for the Cavs. With Mitchell going 5/19 with only 12 points, players such as Mobley, Osman, Wade and Allen stepped up on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor to hold Orlando to under 95 points.
Next up for the Cavs: A date at the TD Garden with the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics on Friday, October 28th. Tip-off will occur a little after 7:30 p.m.