Cavaliers setting out to 'steal a win' in Game 3 against 'desperate' Magic

Apr. 24—The Cavaliers, since they have home-court advantage in the first round and have already won twice, can eliminate the Magic without winning in Orlando. But that would mean going through the grind of six games for the chance to win Game 7 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on May 5.

No one from the Cavs wants the series to go that long.

The Cavaliers practiced April 24 at Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence then hustled to the airport to board a chartered flight to Orlando, where they will face the Magic in Game 3 at 7 p.m. April 25 and Game 4 at 1 p.m. April 27.

Georges Niang, just 1-of-11 including 0-for-8 on 3s, plans to shoot his way out of his shooting slump when the #Cavaliers face the #Magic Thursday night in Game 3.

— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) April 24, 2024

A sweep at the Kia Center would give the Cavs time to rest up for what figures to be a much sterner test against the winner of the Heat-Celtics series in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 5 with the Magic, if necessary, will be April 30 at the FieldHouse.

"We did what we were supposed to do," Caris LeVert said after practice. "We won our two home games. It's our job to go one game at a time, try to steal a win on the road.

"We know that they're going to play with a certain level of desperation knowing that they have to get this next one, so for us it'll be fun to go down there, play against their crowd, play against their energy, their youth, and try to get the next one."

The Cavaliers never led their playoff series with the Knicks last year. The Knicks won the opener at the FieldHouse on April 15. The Cavs won Game 2, and then the Knicks won the next three to win the series.

The Cavaliers never trailed in either of the first two games in their series with the Magic, but nevertheless they are approaching Game 3 with the notion they have to play better. The Cavs are determined to be more careful with the ball after turning it over 17 times in Game 1 and 15 times in Game 2.

Three-point shooting also needs improving, the Cavs say. The Magic converted just 17 of 72 three-point attempts (23.6 percent) in the first two games, The Cavs hit 20 of 69 3s (28.9 percent).

Georges Niang was 0-for-4 on 3s in both games. His solution for getting out of his slump? Keep shooting, which is fine with Coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

"Over the course of my career, I've made a lot of 3-point shots, so to second guess myself would be very foolish," Niang said. "I'm smart enough to know that if I don't shoot, something worse could happen, like turn the ball over or travel.

"So I think I'm smart enough to know what I am really good at. I can stick to my guns and trust my preparation that if I've missed a bunch of shots, the law of averages say that I'm going to start making a ton of shots."

Even Donovan Mitchell has been cold from beyond the arc. He was 3-of-8 on 3s in Game 1 but just 2-of-10 in Game 2.


What: Eastern Conference first round, Game 3; Cavs lead series, 2-0

When: 7 p.m., April 25

Where: Kia Center, Orlando, Fla.

TV: Bally Sports Ohio, NBA TV