Game 55: Cavs at Magic
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: This was the most winnable game on the three-game road trip. The Cavs blasted the Magic by outscoring them in the second half, 67-43, including 39-22 in the fourth quarter.
The 67 points were the most points scored by the Cavs in a half this season. Their 39 points matched the most they've scored in a quarter (39 in the fourth vs. Oklahoma City on Feb. 2).
More importantly, the Cavs were able to rest their starters. None of their starters played a minute in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs had seven players reach double figures in scoring. Backup center Marreese Speights paced the Cavs with 18 points, eight rebounds and one block.
The star of the game was center Tyler Zeller, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and one block. The rookie from North Carolina was shredded by Orlando center Nikola Vucevic the last time the two teams played on Feb. 8.
Vucevic had a career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds in that game at The Q, as Zeller was totally overmatched. Vucevic had six points and seven rebounds on Saturday in 30 minutes.
Everyone asks us to be patient with Zeller. I just haven't seen much improvement in his game. He had a game recently where he didn't attempt a shot. That's ridiculous, especially for someone who can bury a 15-foot jumper. In the New Orleans game, he had two rebounds in 22 minutes. It's hard to wrap your mind around that one. He is a 7-footer, isn't he?
It's all about being aggressive for Zeller. When he plays with aggression, he gets good results. He had six offensive rebounds on Saturday. He competed on the boards and was quite good.
In the master plan at the beginning of the season, he was supposed to be the first big man off the bench. He was perfectly suited to that role until Anderson Varejao went down.
The other rookie, guard Dion Waiters, is making his move. He's not taking as many boneheaded shots, where he looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. He had been shooting 59 percent from the field in the previous six games. That's impressive. He made just 5 of 16 on Saturday. He ended with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Kyrie Irving also had 12 points, but he dished out a game-high nine assists.
Orlando is playing without forward Glen Davis (foot), forward Al Harrington (knee) and guard Jameer Nelson (knee). Forward Hedo Turkoglu (suspended) is also out.
The Magic sent J.J. Redick to the Bucks for three players that don't know the offense or the defense: forward Tobias Harris and guards Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih. In a separate deal, they acquired forward Hakim Warrick from Charlotte for Josh McRoberts.
The Cavs were playing without guard Daniel Gibson, who didn't make the trip to Orlando because of personal reasons, and forward Omri Casspi, who was taken to the hospital with a stomach ailment. Both players have fallen completely out of Coach Byron Scott's rotation.
The Cavs are now 8-21 on the road this season. They have a back-to-back at Miami on Sunday. The Heat are the hottest team in the NBA and have won 10 in a row.
NEWS FEED: Mike Bianchi's column on the J.J. Redick trade to Milwaukee in the Orlando Sentinel.
LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated New Orleans on Wednesday, 105-100.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Maurice Harkless (6-8, 210)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Andrew Nicholson (6-9, 250)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Nikola Vucevic (7-0, 240)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Arron Afflalo (6-5, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. E'Twaun Moore (6-4, 191)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby
Magic - F Glen Davis
Sean Wright, Dick Bavetta, Scott Twardoski