Orlando, Florida – The Orlando Magic has forced the Cleveland Cavaliers to lose hope of the playoffs Tuesday night.
Given what has been at stake, since there are so few games left in the regular season hoping for a miracle at the end of the season to get into the top 6, the Cavs suffered the most disappointing defeat of the season from the shaky Magic, 120-115. Orlando entered the night, losing six games in a row. Cleveland’s role in the tournament was decided after “Toronto” defeated “Atlanta”.
“There’s no attention in this league,” said Cavs coach J. Bickerstaff after the loss. “It’s every night, betting on a horse, and the minimum we ask of our guys is to rework the person in front of them. Tonight again and again they surpassed us. They surpassed us. Give them credit. But it is disappointing that we have made an effort tonight. “
The Cavs started hot, beating Magic 14-3 in the first minutes. But they could not stand it.
In a game that had 13 shifts and six draws, Orlando led by five, entering the fourth quarter. This pushed this advantage to 10 game figures in less than seven minutes to go. Once the Cavs played back, the lead increased to 10 again by a four-minute mark. But Cleveland made the final push led by their all-star Darius Garland.
The team leader, who spoke about raising the level of the game at this time of year, started the series 11-4. Lavra Markanen had an open three-pointer before the break that would equalize the game 48 seconds before the end. Only Markanen missed, and Ignas Brazdeikis, who played in place of the injured Franz Wagner, who left the game just nine minutes later, gave Orlando a five-point lead.
Garland scored or gave a assist in Cleveland’s first six shots and nine of the top 10 in the fourth quarter. He scored 22 of 29 points in the fourth, trying to save the Cavs from a crushing loss.
Instead, Magic secured the win on the free throw line by hitting three of four in the last 10 seconds.
“It’s the Magic team, it never quits,” Bickerstaff said. “You watch a movie on them, no matter the circumstances, they compete, and they play the game together, no matter what the number. So we knew they would have their shot. How we coped with what we endured, how we did what we did to be successful, it just wasn’t. This is why we clearly need to learn. We are constantly hoping to click the switch. But every time we try to push the switch, it bites us in the ass. ”
Garland finished with 27 points, including 13 in fourth. He added 10 assists and six rebounds. Markanen added 25, moving to 6 of 12 from the 3-point range. Kevin Love scored 17 points and 13 rebounds. Central Moses Brown also recorded a double-double, his third in the last four games. Brown had 10 points and 12 boards.
The Magic, who had failed to reach a 90-point mark in the previous two games, destroyed Cleveland’s weak defense throughout. They threw 50.5% off the field and 45.7% out of the arc, scoring 16 3s.
“It wasn’t us. It wasn’t Cavaliers basketball, ”Markanen said. “We can’t wait for the fourth quarter to try to win back or anything. I felt that the last five minutes, the intensity with which we played in defense, was about the same as it should be all 48 minutes. A disappointing loss, obviously. The most important thing is that we did not play by our standards in defense and attack. Obviously, it was a great game for us.
“You can say that in the locker room everyone feels the same, everyone knows we had to win the game and we have a lot more than they have at the moment.”
Central Orlando Mo Bamba, who started 5 of 5 from depth, scored 21 points. Brazdeikis finished with 20. A total of eight players reached double-digit numbers, including five members of the Orlando bench. The Magic Reserves outscored Cleveland 66-37.
The Cavs, who have lost in seven of the last nine, have been closed for at least a game tournament for weeks – a battle between numbers 7-10, which begins on April 12. But Tuesday’s inexplicable defeat, coupled with a late-season downturn, assured it was their only path to the playoffs.
“There will be 82 games this season, and it will happen,” Bickerstaff said when asked about his level of concern. “We just picked the wrong time to make it happen.”
With his first basket on Tuesday night – a 14-foot jumper – Love bypassed Larry Nance Sr. and placed ninth on the Cleveland fan list of all time.
The Caves will have a few days off in Orlando before heading to Brooklyn for the final away game of the season against the Nets on Friday night. The tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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