Cavs Hold Off Magic Rally, Snap Skid at Four


The general consensus from just about every major sports outlet is that the Cleveland Cavaliers will be making some type of trade before the trade deadline on February 8.

In a repeat of their match-up two weeks ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers blew a 23-point lead Thursday night before escaping with a close 104-103 win over the Orlando Magic.

Love finished with 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting with 11 rebounds and 2 assists. That inadvertent whistle resulted in a jump ball at midcourt, basically ending the game and averting what would have been a awful Cleveland loss.

LeBron James closed in on 30,000 career points, Thomas scored 21 and the Cavs snapped a four-game losing skid - but not out of a January funk.

But some of the same problems that have plagued the Cavs - defensive lapses, stagnant offense - resurfaced in the second half.

Orlando's Elfrid Payton missed a twisting jumper in the lane and teammate Bismack Biyombo was unable to convert a tip, with a whistle blowing with 0.2 second left when the ball appeared to go out of bounds.

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With the Magic trailing 102-101, and given a chance to take their first lead of the game, Magic center Bismack Biyombo committed an offensive 3-second violation with 1:02 to play.

As they did in Monday's matchup with the Warriors, the Cavaliers came out ready to play - running out to a 23-point edge in the second quarter. Derrick Rose, playing in his first game since November 7, scored nine off the bench.

Payton scored 19 and Gordon 17 for Orlando, which didn't get any breaks down the stretch. Dwyane Wade scored 11 off the bench and Jeff Green added 10. Reserve guard Arron Afflalo began his two-game suspension for throwing a punch in the team's win over Minnesota Tuesday.

The Magic have lost 28 of 33 games. Ditto for J.R. Smith, who unlike Thomas, has been on the court the whole season.

That's right: Unlike most National Basketball Association teams, Cleveland rarely holds in-season practices.

"Not playing through the game for 48 minutes hurt us tonight", Lue said in what has become a familiar refrain. Then after a missed 3-pointer by Simmons, Thomas sank an open 3-pointer from the right side to extend Cleveland's lead to 98-91 with 5:31 to play.