All season long, the Cavaliers have been able to turn up the heat on both ends late in games. On Monday, in a game they desperately needed, they got just hot enough.
After trailing by a deuce with just under six minutes to play, the Wine & Gold hit the accelerator – outscoring Orlando, 17-9, to close the contest and escape with the 107-101 win at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The victory came at a cost, however, as prized rookie Evan Mobley left the game just before intermission with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return for the second stanza.
With Mobley in the locker room – and with Jarrett Allen still out nursing a fractured finger – Coach J.B. Bickerstaff had to get creative with his lineups late. And he found the right combination, which included reserves Dylan Windler and Brandon Goodwin, to take Cleveland home down the stretch.
Darius Garland led both teams with 25 points, going 7-for-17 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from long-range and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding a game-high 12 assists for his fifth double-double in his last six outings – adding three boards and three steals in the win.
Lauri Markkanen continued his solid play on the offensive end – adding 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Kevin Love came off the bench originally but started the second half with the injury to Mobley, finishing with 19 points, going 7-for-15 from the floor and adding seven boards and three assists.
Windler also had a solid night off the bench, snagging a career-high with nine boards, good enough to earn his first Junkyard Dog award of the season in the postgame locker room.
Isaac Okoro had another efficient evening – rounding out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11 points, going 4-of-6 from the floor, adding five boards, a game-high four steals and a blocked shot.
Seven Magic players notched double figures, but Wendell Carter Jr. was the high man with 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting.