Cavaliers aim to get back on track vs. skidding Magic

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·3 min read
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The Cleveland Cavaliers aim to put a disastrous road trip in their rearview mirror when they open a five-game homestand against the skidding Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

The Cavaliers (21-40) capped a fruitless three-game trek with a 112-96 setback to the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

That game turned late in the third quarter as veteran Kevin Love opted against inbounding the ball to a teammate, rather swatting it in play and standing idly by as the Raptors seized possession. Toronto quickly drained a 3-pointer, and Love then fouled Freddie Gillespie on the final possession which pushed the Raptors' lead from six to 11 points.

Love didn't play the rest of the game and exited the locker room before the final whistle. He did not speak to reporters.

"You'll have to ask Kevin," Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Love's actions. "We talked about it. He apologized to his teammates for it, and we'll move on."

Whether the Cavaliers move on without Love for Wednesday's game is not immediately known, however they are not dealing from a position of strength when it comes to healthy bodies. Cleveland, on Monday, played without leading scorer Collin Sexton (concussion), Larry Nance Jr. (fractured thumb), Taurean Prince (ankle), Matthew Dellavedova (neck), Dylan Windler (knee), Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion) and Lamar Stevens (concussion).

Rookie Isaac Okoro scored a season-high 20 points and Jarrett Allen collected 15 points and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have lost six of their last seven games.

Darius Garland made just 5-of-13 shots from the floor to finish with 13 points, ending a stretch of six straight games in which he scored at least 20 points.

Garland did not play in Cleveland's first two encounters with Orlando. The Magic improved to 6-2 on the season after posting a 103-83 victory over the Cavaliers on Jan. 4 and a 105-94 triumph two days later.

The bottom fell out in a hurry for Orlando (18-43), however. The Magic have lost six in a row and 12 of their last 13 following a 114-103 setback to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

Chuma Okeke led Orlando with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. The shooting performance comes two games removed from a disastrous 1-for-12 performance from the field in a 135-100 setback to the New Orleans Pelicans.

"I just have to keep that focus and keep the same energy every night whether it's going in or not," Okeke said. "My teammates do a good job of encouraging me and keeping my confidence up."

Rookie Cole Anthony matched Okeke with three 3-pointers. He finished with 15 points and seven assists for a Magic team that is looking for growth as it plays out the season.

"There's always something to play for. As a player in this league, you are always playing for who you are, first of all. You are playing for your team," acting coach Tyrone Corbin said. "You are trying to build your career and make sure that your reputation as an individual player is (one) guy who is going to continue to fight. If there's minutes on the clock, game's going on, you are going to fight and that's what organizations want to see and that's what you should want to see in yourself as a player."

--Field Level Media