Orlando took their first home blowout win of the season over the Cleveland Cavaliers 83-103. After two losses it was vital the Magic bounce back. They did this against a Cavaliers team who were missing six players through injury.
Orlando have their injury problems too. The team were without guard Evan Fournier (back spasms) and he remains listed as day-to-day. Other notable absentees were Al Farouq Aminu (knee), James Ennis III (hamstring), Chuma Okeke (knee) and Jonathan Isaac (knee).
Orlando raced out to a quick 10-0 start, 8 points from Aaron Gordon who’s had his struggles from beyond the arc this season (3-20) who saw another jump in his minutes last night. Cleveland responded with a run of their own sparked by third year guard Collin Sexton who had 8 points in the opening quarter.
The first quarter helped set a tone on the offensive end for Orlando who made four 3-pointers including two from Air Gordon as the Magic closed out the quarter 26-19.
Nikola Vucevic got himself going with 11 points in the quarter going 4-6 from the field. But it was a sloppy quarter. The Magic coughed the ball up five times, to go along with five in the first quarter too. Three turnovers from Markelle Fultz helped Cleveland hang around in the first half.
The Cavaliers got out on the fast break with the Magic keen to crash the offensive glass gave Sexton room to operate in the open floor. Cedi Osman added 8 points in the quarter who was a real spark off the bench for the Cavs.
Aaron Gordon was interviewed by Dante Marchitelli on Fox Sports Florida at the halftime break. Gordon said “To be honest I don’t really like how we played. I thought we were stagnant on the offensive end. We got to continue to move the ball, work the ball, be patient, move the ball around and we got to stop turning the ball over”.
Magic led by two at the half 51-49.
On the opening possession of the half Markelle Fultz with the ball in his hands, came off a screen set by Aaron Gordon and saw the lane open up as he threw a dunk down. It was a moment for Fultz to release some frustration after a sloppy first half. That was the moment which set Orlando for the rest of the game.
The Magic put their foot down. The ball and players started moving better on offence. We saw plenty of passing playing through Nikola Vucevic, as Orlando opened up a big lead. Aaron Gordon had himself a big quarter with 13 points including three 3’s and a couple of nice mid range buckets.
The Magic bench also gave the team a lift with 12 points (42 points for the game) as they pulled away from Cleveland opening up a 22 point lead going into the fourth quarter outscoring their opponents 38-18. Magic led 89-67.
Orlando just had to see the fourth quarter out to hold onto win number five. We saw garbage time handed to Karim Mané, Jordan Bone. More important was seeing Mo Bamba make his first appearance of the season. Mo played for the final 4 minutes, getting a block and a couple of rebounds.
FIRST HOME BLOWOUT WIN PLAYER OF THE GAME
This was the kind of Aaron Gordon performance that every Magic fan wishes we could see a lot more of. He was active on both ends of the floor but it was the offensive performance that was impressive. He was taking his shots in the flow of the offence. AG wasn’t forcing anything that wasn’t there and he looked confident once a few buckets dropped.
Gordon finished with 24 points (season high), 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 9-17 from the field including 6-9 from beyond the arc.
The Magic will finish off their four game home stand and face the Cavaliers again on Wednesday night in the Amway Center, tip off will be midnight in the UK.