He was happy, but hardly jubilant. For the first time since Byron Scott came to Cleveland, the Cavaliers are 7-3 over a 10-game stretch.
The coach is pleased the Cavs are riding a three-game winning streak again and are 9-9 in the new year, but there was plenty to correct from Friday’s 119-108 victory over the Orlando Magic.
The Magic shot 52 percent, their bigs destroyed the Cavs inside most of the night and for the fifth time in seven games, an opponent scored more than 100 points. That meant Scott’s postgame praise was a bit reserved — even though the Cavs are a .500 team over their last 22 games.
“My expectations of us as a team are a little higher than 11-11,” Scott said. “We’re definitely making steps in the right direction, don’t get me wrong. My expectations is to be even better. This is good, we’re playing good basketball right now, but we can play better.”
The stumbling Magic have shuffled injured players in and out of the lineup for the last few weeks, a big reason for their 12-game losing streak. But Nikola Vucevic set a career high with 25 points and Andrew Nicholson’s 21 points fell one shy of his career high. Sharpshooter J.J. Redick missed the game with a bad shoulder, Cavs killer Hedo Turkoglu was out because he’s ill and leading scorer Arron Afflalo was playing his first game since missing six with a strained calf.
Yet the Magic held an 80-77 lead late in the third quarter because the Cavs still haven’t figured out how to rotate defensively and guard anyone. When the Magic self-destructed a bit late in the third quarter, the Cavs scored 13 consecutive points over the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth to take control of the game.
Irving scores 24, Cavs win third in a row
Akron Beacon Journal | Feb 9