NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 13th (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (8-13) at Orlando Magic (7-15), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing their best basketball of the season and will try to continue that momentum when they visit Amway Center to take on the Orlando Magic Friday night.
The Cavs have won two straight and four of their last five. The road has been a different animal altogether for Cleveland, which has dropped four straight as the visitor and is an Eastern Conference worst 1-10 away from Quicken Loans Arena.
"We need to play with more intensity (on the road)," head coach Mike Brown said after practice Wednesday. "We need to understand that shots aren't always going to go in. And we have to accept that, which is hard for a young team. We have to accept that that's the reality of playing on the road in this business and we really have to hang our hat on our identity which is on the defensive end of the floor."
Cleveland also visits Miami on this short trip through Florida.
The Cavs' most recent victory came Tuesday night over the New York Knicks, 109-94. Cleveland built a big lead in the second quarter, only to see the Knicks answer. When the Cavs, who shot 57 percent from the field, went on a run in the third, New York couldn't slow the momentum.
Kyrie Irving was brilliant with 37 points and 11 assists on Tuesday. Jarrett Jack finished with 17 points, followed by 12 from Tristan Thompson and 10 from C.J. Miles.
The Magic just completed a six-game road trip and claimed a victory on Wednesday with a 92-83 win in Charlotte. Orlando went 1-5 and the win over the Bobcats halted a six-game slide.
"It would have been easy to let go of this game and want to just get home," Jameer Nelson said of wrapping up the road trip. "But you've got to show resolve and be resilient and we did that."
Nelson scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a huge 3- pointer late. Glen Davis also finished with 17 points, but added 12 rebounds.
All seven Orlando players who figured in the scoring column scored in double figures. Arron Afflalo (16), Victor Oladipo (10), Andrew Nicholson (10), E'Twaun Moore (10) and Nikola Vucevic (12) were all key contributors.
Vucevic returned from a four-game absence due to a sore ankle.
"I'm the biggest guy on this team and my job is to protect the paint and rebound. Rebounding is some of the best skill that I have and I've just got to keep doing it every game," said Vucevic, who grabbed 14 boards.
After such a long trip, the Magic only get a brief stop to the see the family. The hit the road Sunday and Monday in Oklahoma City and Chicago, respectively.
The Cavs have won three straight against Orlando, but prior to this run, Orlando took 10 in a row. The Magic are 6-1 in their last seven at home against Cleveland.
12/13 10:24:51 ET