Magic stay hot, beat Cavaliers
Ross’ shooting from free-throw line helps push win streak to 4.
CLEVELAND — Shotmaking has been a big part of the Orlando Magic’s three-game winning streak.
Their best shotmaking Friday night in Cleveland came from Terrence Ross and at the freethrow line, and they were enough to keep that winning streak intact.
Ross scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and the Magic used a 20-7 edge from the line to outlast the Cavaliers for a 93-87 victory at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Evan Fournier finished with 18 points, while Aaron Gordon had 14 and D.J. Augustin added 10 as the Magic moved back to the .500 mark (11-11) and improved to 3-0 against the Cavaliers this season.
“Winning on the road is difficult and I thought [Cleveland] played well, really hard,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.
Orlando shot just 39.0% from the field after topping 50% in each of its past two games when it scored 127 and 128 points.
The Magic didn’t come close to those marks on Friday. But while their offense struggled, their defense did not, particularly down the stretch.
Jonathan Isaac, the league leader in blocks, recorded four blocks in the game.
“The focus was definitely on defense,” Fournier said. “We made some huge plays.”
The Magic are now 4-0 when holding an opponent under 90 points. They’ve done it twice against the Cavaliers.
Clifford said Friday’s effort is a move toward getting back to the team’s defensive identity.
“I wouldn’t say that’s what we have to be all the time, but that’s what it needs to be,” he said.
Collin Sexton scored 19 points to lead the Cavaliers (5-16), who looked to be in position to snap their four-game losing streak.
They took a six-point lead with just under four minutes left in the third quarter on a Sexton three-point play, but Ross drained a 3 before Michael Carter-Williams scored in traffic from 6 feet and Mo Bamba added a free throw to tie it.
The Magic’s Jonathan Isaac, right, battles the Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson for possession of the ball Friday night in Cleveland.