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Orlando at Cleveland

Magic clinch East's No. 3 seed with dominating win over Cavs

CBSSports.com wire reports

CLEVELAND -- They're the East's third-best team, the one being overlooked and even underrated as the playoffs approach.

And that's just fine with the Orlando Magic.

"If you listen to what the experts are saying, all the teams are jockeying to play us," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Hedo Turkoglu scored 23 points, Rashard Lewis added 21 and the Magic, one of this season's biggest surprises, locked up the Eastern Conference's No. 3 playoff seed Saturday with a 101-86 win over the staggering Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Magic, who have sat behind Boston and Detroit in the standings for much of the season, won despite getting only four points on 1-of-8 shooting from All-Star center Dwight Howard -- 17 below his average. Orlando's defense, though, was the difference.

The Magic held Cleveland to 14 points on 17 percent shooting (4-of-23) in the fourth quarter and didn't let Cavaliers superstar LeBron James get his first points of the final period until there was 1:48 left. By then, Orlando was up by double digits and in cruise control.

James, who has been bothered by back spasms, finished with 17 points (on 6-of-22 shooting), nine assists and seven rebounds. But for the second straight game, he wasn't able to score as he usually does and his teammates didn't give him any help.

His back was tight, but James refused to blame it for the loss.

"I just not been able to come through for my team in the fourth quarter the last two games," James said. "It starts with me."

James said the spams are in his lower back and he has been stiffening up during halftime. The Cavaliers, who have been injury-plagued all season, are trying to nail down the No. 4 seed. They have five regular-season games left and James would prefer not to miss any of them.

"Right now, I can't afford to," he said. "We've got to clinch the fourth seed. We still have to get better. We're at a point right now where we have so many injuries that it's hard for us to improve."

Howard had 12 rebounds, Jameer Nelson had 16 points and 9 assists and reserve Pat Garrity had 13 points for the Magic (48-28), who won 40 games last season and are now two victories from their first 50-win season since 1995-96 -- when they lost in the conference finals.

Unable to get the ball down low where he's most comfortable and double-teamed almost every time he touched it, Howard had just two points and one rebound. Cleveland outrebounded Orlando 32-11 in the first half, including 14-3 on the offensive glass.

At halftime, Van Gundy let his players know that he wasn't happy with the lopsided numbers or their effort.

"I was beside myself," he said.

The Magic came out much hungrier after the break.

"We came out with a lot more energy," Howard said. "We just played harder than they did. "

Delonte West scored 19 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas 18 for Cleveland, which has dropped five of seven and is staggering toward the regular-season finish line.

With the score tied 75-all, the Magic ripped off 10 straight points, the last coming on a three-point play by Keyon Dooling with 5:37 left. Ilgauskas finally ended the drought for Cleveland, but Turkoglu, one of the NBA's best performers in the fourth quarter this season, scored five points and Orlando opened a 92-79 lead with 3:02 remaining.

Cleveland's outside game was almost nonexistent, and with Orlando sagging its defense to stop James from driving, the Cavaliers needed someone to step up. No one did. Wally Szczerbiak and Daniel Gibson both went 1-of-7 from the field.

James was only 1-of-7 in the fourth and Cleveland is 10-for-46 in the final 12 minutes of its past two games.

"We got lucky. LeBron James had one of his bad nights," Van Gundy said. "We'll take it."


  • Before the game, Cavs coach Mike Brown revealed that James' back has been bothering him for some time. Brown wants to get James as much rest as possible over the final five games to have him as fresh as possible for the playoffs.
  • Orlando won for just the second time in 22 games when trailing after three quarters.
  • Turkoglu is a leading candidate for the league's most improved player award. He's averaging career-highs in scoring, assists, rebounds and minutes played. On top of that, Turkoglu leads the Magic in fourth-quarter scoring (6.1 points) and has won three games with shots in the closing seconds.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Rashard Lewis (21 points) and Hedo Turkoglu (23 points) cement the Magic's playoff spot.  (AP)
Rashard Lewis (21 points) and Hedo Turkoglu (23 points) cement the Magic's playoff spot. (AP)
Orlando (48-28) «30172232101
Cleveland (42-35) 2629171486
ORL:H. Turkoglu 23 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 12 Reb
ORL:J. Nelson 9 Ast
CLE:D. West 19 Pts
CLE:Z. Ilgauskas 9 Reb
CLE:L. James 9 Ast
Players of the Game

L. James

H. Turkoglu

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R. Lewis, SF405-108-842121
D. Howard, C391-82-212354
H. Turkoglu, SF388-145-655223
J. Nelson, PG337-120-039216
M. Evans, SF225-120-011311
K. Bogans, SG261-50-04232
P. Garrity, SF185-90-020113
K. Dooling, PG152-53-40107
A. Foyle, C92-20-02134
T. Battie, PFDid Not Play
C. Arroyo, PGDid Not Play
B. Cook, PFDid Not Play
M. Gortat, PFDid Not Play
J. Augustine, PFDid Not Play
J. Redick, SGDid Not Play
Totals 36-7718-20332420101
L. James, SF426-224-879117
D. Brown, SG366-150-065015
D. West, SG337-104-614419
Z. Ilgauskas, C318-172-293418
B. Wallace, C270-11-29211
D. Gibson, PG201-70-04122
J. Smith, PF173-51-22027
W. Szczerbiak, SF161-71-15003
A. Varejao, C162-40-05154
E. Snow, PGDid Not Play
D. Jones, PGDid Not Play
S. Pavlovic, SGDid Not Play
D. Jones, PFDid Not Play
L. Allred, CDid Not Play
Totals 34-8813-2148251986
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