|"I respectfully request you stop doing stuff." - fake Dion Waiters quote. (Getty Images)|
The Orlando Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-104 on Friday night, thanks to deadly 3-point shooting and clutch free throw accuracy. Orlando made 11 of 21 3-point attempts and was 17-of-20 from the line.
The Cavs continued to struggle on defense like they have all season. They are 28th in the NBA in defensive rating. However, it was odd that they gave up such a high percentage on long-range shots. The Cavs are the 15th-best team at defending the 3-point shot. While that's not great, it certainly doesn't make you think they'd give up so many looks to Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick.
While Cleveland was attempting to claw back in the final moments of regulation, Orlando did exactly what it wanted. It got the ball to Redick.
After Anderson Varejao made one of two from the free throw line with 22 seconds left to cut the Orlando lead to two points, the Magic successfully inbounded the ball to Redick four straight times. Redick proceeded to make all eight of his free throw attempts in the final 21 seconds of the game.
At some point, Dion Waiters had enough of this accuracy and tried a different strategy for getting inside Redick's head. He tried to kill him with kindness, apparently. Via the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Waiters said he resorted to talking to Redick in an attempt to help him miss, and finally pleaded with Redick to clang one of his free throws.
"I was telling him, 'Can you miss?' " Waiters said. "I was playing, but I was serious. Like, 'Miss a shot. Please.' "
The end-of-game strategy for the Cavs was just weird. They were down four points on three straight possessions over the final 21 seconds and never attempted a 3-point shot to try to cut it to a one possession game after the ensuing Redick free throws. They also never denied Redick the ball on the inbound pass to force someone else to take the pressure at the line.
Redick is a career 87.7 percent free throw shooter, finished second in the NBA last season at 91.1 percent and is currently 10th in the NBA at 89.7 percent. The fact that Cleveland didn't deny him the ball begins to explain the decision-making on defense and why the Cavs are near the bottom of the league in stopping the other team from scoring.
Varejao can only do so much, apparently.