For the sixth time in seven games, the Cleveland Cavaliers never trailed. They dispelled the Orlando Magic 126-99 in a flawless victory. Let’s recap what happened:
It’s getting hard to choose any one Cavalier for these things. There aren’t enough words to describe how well this team is playing.
But tonight, it was Merrill Mania matching his career-high with 8 three-pointers.
Sam Merill opened the game by drilling a three in his first few seconds of playing time. This was a sign of what was to come — as Merrill piled on five more three-pointers before the first half ended.
Help defenders trying to find Sam Merrill after looking away for half a second pic.twitter.com/g2QuaBcJm8— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) January 23, 2024
There aren’t many more prolific shooters in the NBA right now. Merrill leads the league in three-pointers per 100 possessions and continues to improve that number as his opportunities increase.
Honorable mentions go to both Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen tonight. Mitchell tied his career-high in assists with 13 dimes along with 25 points and 4 steals. Meanwhile, Allen set a franchise record by recording his 12th consecutive double-double.
Well, that happened…
Allen has revved up his engines to maximum overdrive. His aggressive play has propelled the Cavaliers to the best record in the NBA since Dec. 15.
Tonight, he put a beating on the rim for three straight possessions. That basket will never be the same.
Allen just destroyed the rim on three straight possesions pic.twitter.com/lj26UmSpcO— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) January 23, 2024
Make that eight wins in a row for the streaking Cavaliers. It’s the longest active win streak in the NBA and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Cleveland has done more than just survive without Darius Garland and Evan Mobley – they have found a way to thrive.
Back-to-back games with the Milwaukee Bucks are next. Soon after, Mobley and Garland will be completing their recovery. The best might be yet to come for this Cavs squad.