Their road trip is off to a bumpy start as the Cleveland Cavaliers came up ice-cold in Orlando.
Darius Garland scraped together an impressive 36 points on 11-23 shooting despite the shooting woes that plagued Cleveland overall. DG breaded his butter in the paint, getting to the free-throw line 12 times.
Then, there was Tristan Thompson – who stormed off the bench for 10 points and 12 rebounds in a valiant losing effort. Thompson did all he could but ultimately couldn’t push his squad over the top.
For the Magic, it was the tag team of Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero that doused the Cavaliers. The two lanky scorers gave Cleveland a beating down-low and combined for 39 points, 18 rebounds and 8 assists.
Coming up short:
There weren’t many things that went right for Cleveland in this game. From Evan Mobley being sidelined – to Jarrett Allen joining him with six fouls in just 15 minutes. The Cavs were without their two defensive anchors and it showed. Every time Wagner or Banchero scored inside, the Cavs missed Tower City just a little more.
But most of all, it was an ice-cold shooting night that sealed the deal. The Cavs shot just 9-of-41 from downtown tonight, including a bone-chilling 3-of-23 (13%) in the second half. Their inability to convert open looks led to their downfall in this game.
Well, that happened…
Did I mention the Cavs struggled to shoot the ball tonight?
This is the type of thing that makes you smash a controller pic.twitter.com/5P0QIMFEXj— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) December 12, 2023
Had the Cavaliers shot the ball at an average rate – this game likely would have been a victory. Instead, it’s one they would like to forget as quickly as possible.
Up next is a pair of games against the Boston Celtics, who have yet to lose in TD Garden. A three-game skid would be a tough pill to swallow for Cleveland. If they want to avoid this, they’ll have to tarnish Boston’s perfect record at home.