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Cleveland at Orlando

Magic hold off Cavs' late push to win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Predicting which Orlando Magic team shows up from night to night has been a daily guessing game.

A recent season-high four-game losing streak was plagued with turnovers, inconsistent play on defense and stale offense.

Since then, the Magic have dug out of the muck, earning their second straight victory, 102-94 over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night.

Dwight Howard scored 19 points, had 16 rebounds and blocked eight shots, and hit some key late free-throws to help ward off a late Cavs' charge.

Jason Richardson also added 19 points in his first action in two games after resting a sore knee. Hedo Turkoglu finished with 18 points and Ryan Anderson chipped in 17.

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"We did good job of spacing the floor out, moving the ball and getting each other involved," Richardson said. "It was really good for us tonight. Everybody was involved, did a good job on both ends and got the win."

The Magic won their seventh straight over the Cavaliers, despite playing without injured starting point guard Jameer Nelson and suspended reserve big man Glen Davis.

Orlando continues a stretch of nine games in 13 days Saturday at Indiana.

Alonzo Gee led Cleveland with 20 points, followed by Kyrie Irving with 18.

The Cavs have lost three of their last four and returns home to host Dallas on Saturday before going to Miami on Tuesday.

The Magic came in averaging 15.5 turnovers per game, but had just five against the Cavs and opened up a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The Cavs got it down to 95-90 with 2:12 to play by fouling Howard intentionally and sending him to the free-throw line.

Howard missed four straight attempts from the line during one stretch before sinking a pair to give the Magic a seven-point cushion and help close it out. He finished 9 for 16 for the evening.

He said he is never surprised when teams resort to fouling him, especially with the career-low 47 percent he came in shooting from the stripe.

"No, that's the game plan," Howard said. "Until I get better at the line they're gonna continue to do it. It is what it is. I shot them better. I just gotta continue to work on them. They'll fall."

Despite the missing and still healing bodies on their roster, the Magic managed to take a nine-point advantage into the break, building their cushion by hitting six first-half 3s. Richardson also hit five of his six field goal attempts for 11 points.

Cleveland also helped out, connecting on only 29 percent of its field goals (14 for 48). Antawn Jamison kept the Cavs close with an 11-point, 10 rebound effort in the half.

The Cavaliers finished shooting 36 percent, ultimately undermining their fouling strategy.

"I think you can do it at any point in time," Scott said. "I don't think you necessarily have to have to be down. Until he proves he can hit 75 percent on those free throws on a consistent basis."

Cleveland scored 41 points in the fourth quarter.

"I wish we could put the first three quarters together like we did the fourth," he said. "We couldn't throw the ball in the ocean for the first three quarters. It was tough."

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy had to make some pregame adjustments to his rotation after Davis was suspended for two games prior to tip-off Friday for conduct detrimental to the team. He'll also miss the Indiana game.

Van Gundy acknowledged before the game that he and Davis were involved in a verbal incident during the morning walkthrough, but said nothing physical took place. He didn't elaborate further, though added he said he didn't expect the suspension to go beyond two games.

Nelson continues to deal with concussion symptoms. Without a true third point guard behind Chris Duhon, the team released Larry Hughes following Wednesday's win over Washington and signed free agent Ish Smith Thursday.

Smith had two early assists, including one on a dunk by Earl Clark, but also had three fouls in just five minutes of action early. He finished with four assists in nine minutes of action.

Van Gundy said it was nice to have Richardson back, but he will reserve evaluation for a few more days.

"I don't know if today is as big a test as tomorrow," Van Gundy said. "I think when he gets up and gets moving on it tomorrow will be the bigger test."

Notes

  • Van Gundy said Nelson, who sat out his fourth straight game with concussion symptoms, did do some limited, off-court physical activity Friday and has a chance of returning Monday against the L.A. Clippers.
  • The Cavs played without G Daniel Gibson (soft tissue infection in neck), G Anthony Parker (back strain) and F Tristan Thompson (ankle sprain).
Copyright 2015 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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Dwight Howard blocks eight shots and grabs 16 rebounds (both game highs) in the Magic's win.  (US Presswire)
Dwight Howard blocks eight shots and grabs 16 rebounds (both game highs) in the Magic's win. (US Presswire)
Scoreboard
Cleveland (8-13)1720164194
Orlando (14-9) «18302430102
CLE:A. Gee 20 Pts
CLE:A. Varejao 15 Reb
CLE:R. Sessions 8 Ast
ORL:J. Richardson 19 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 16 Reb
ORL:C. Duhon 5 Ast
Players of the Game
ClevelandOrlando

Antawn Jamison

Dwight Howard
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
1612019162

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Cleveland
K. Irving, PG407-214-446218
A. Jamison, PF346-193-7120416
A. Varejao, C345-132-2151512
M. Thompson, SF300-60-00110
O. Casspi, SF173-62-26119
A. Gee, SF317-123-450520
R. Sessions, PG263-87-868114
S. Erden, C130-10-04020
L. Harangody, PF81-10-04013
S. Samuels, C61-30-01012
A. Parker, SGDid Not Play
D. Gibson, PGDid Not Play
R. Hollins, CDid Not Play
T. Thompson, PFDid Not Play
C. Eyenga, SFDid Not Play
Totals 33-9021-2757172394
 36.7%77.8% 
Orlando
D. Howard, C385-129-16162119
C. Duhon, PG363-80-02548
R. Anderson, PF345-145-681317
H. Turkoglu, SF327-122-274118
J. Richardson, SG287-122-341019
J. Redick, SG230-50-00110
E. Clark, SF233-92-45048
V. Wafer, SG163-65-511111
I. Smith, PG91-20-02452
L. Hughes, SGDid Not Play
Q. Richardson, SGDid Not Play
J. Nelson, PGDid Not Play
G. Davis, PFDid Not Play
J. Harper, PFDid Not Play
D. Liggins, SGDid Not Play
D. Orton, CDid Not Play
Totals 34-8025-36451920102
 42.5%69.4% 
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Mia 99 Final
Phi 79
Wash 89 Final
Tor 106
Mil 80 Final
Det 88
Min 108 Final
NJ 105
NY 89 Final
Bos 91
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Hou 99
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OKC 101
Ind 98 Final
Dal 87
LAL 93 Final
Den 89