7:00 PM ET, February 3, 2012
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Predicting which Orlando Magic team shows up from night to night has been a daily guessing game.
A recent season-high four-game losing streak was plagued with turnovers, inconsistent play on defense and stale offense.
Since then, the Magic have dug out of the muck, earning their second straight victory, 102-94 over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night.
Dwight Howard scored 19 points, had 16 rebounds and blocked eight shots, and hit some key late free throws to help ward off a late Cavs' charge.
"We did good job of spacing the floor out, moving the ball and getting each other involved," Richardson said. "It was really good for us tonight. Everybody was involved, did a good job on both ends and got the win."
Orlando continues a stretch of nine games in 13 days Saturday at Indiana.
The Cavs have lost three of their last four and return home to host Dallas on Saturday before going to Miami on Tuesday.
The Magic came in averaging 15.5 turnovers per game, but had just five against the Cavs and opened up a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs got it down to 95-90 with 2:12 to play by fouling Howard and sending him to the free throw line.
Howard missed four straight attempts from the line during one stretch before sinking a pair to give the Magic a seven-point cushion and help close it out. He finished 9 for 16 for the evening.
He said he is never surprised when teams resort to fouling him, especially with the career-low 47 percent he came in shooting from the stripe.
"No, that's the game plan," Howard said. "Until I get better at the line they're gonna continue to do it. It is what it is. I shot them better. I just gotta continue to work on them. They'll fall."
Despite the missing and still healing bodies on their roster, the Magic managed to take a nine-point advantage into the break, building their cushion by hitting six first-half 3s. Richardson also hit five of his six field goal attempts for 11 points.
Cleveland also helped out, connecting on only 29 percent of its field goals (14 for 48). Antawn Jamison kept the Cavs close with an 11-point, 10 rebound effort in the half.
The Cavaliers finished shooting 36 percent, ultimately undermining their fouling strategy.
"I think you can do it at any point in time," Scott said. "I don't think you necessarily have to have to be down. Until he proves he can hit 75 percent on those free throws on a consistent basis."
Cleveland scored 41 points in the fourth quarter.
"I wish we could put the first three quarters together like we did the fourth," he said. "We couldn't throw the ball in the ocean for the first three quarters. It was tough."
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy had to make some pregame adjustments to his rotation after Davis was suspended for two games before tip-off Friday for conduct detrimental to the team. He'll also miss the Indiana game.
Van Gundy acknowledged before the game that he and Davis were involved in a verbal incident during the morning walkthrough, but said nothing physical took place. He didn't elaborate further, though added he said he didn't expect the suspension to go beyond two games.
Nelson continues to deal with concussion symptoms. Without a true third point guard behind Chris Duhon, the team released Larry Hughes following Wednesday's win over Washington and signed free agent Ish Smith on Thursday.
Smith had two early assists, including one on a dunk by Earl Clark, but he also had three fouls in just five minutes of action early. He finished with four assists in nine minutes of action.
Van Gundy said it was nice to have Richardson back, but he will reserve evaluation for a few more days.
"I don't know if today is as big a test as tomorrow," Van Gundy said. "I think when he gets up and gets moving on it tomorrow will be the bigger test."
Van Gundy said Nelson, who sat out his fourth straight game with concussion symptoms, did do some limited, off-court physical activity Friday and has a chance of returning Monday against the Clippers. ... The Cavs played without G Daniel Gibson (soft tissue infection in neck), G Anthony Parker (back strain) and F Tristan Thompson (ankle sprain).
ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 3: Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic goes to the basket against Antawn Jamison #4 of...(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||33-90 (.367)||34-80 (.425)|
|3PM-3PA||7-18 (.389)||9-26 (.346)|
|FTM-FTA||21-27 (.778)||25-36 (.694)|
|Fast Break Points||19||8|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||23 (1/0)||20 (1/0)|
Next 5 Games
- NBA Home
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Miami Heat
- Orlando Magic
- Washington Wizards
- Heat Index