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How host Magic got trounced by sharpshooting Cavaliers

ORLANDO, Fla. — If Sunday’s 18-point win over the Heat was a defensive masterclass put on by the Magic, then Monday’s 27-point loss to the Cavaliers was the complete opposite.

After limiting Miami to 87 points total the night prior at Kia Center, Orlando gave up 72 points in the first half before Cleveland rolled to a 126-99 road victory.

Playing on the second night of back-to-back, the Magic were missing point guard Markelle Fultz (left knee) and Jonathan Isaac (right hamstring) because of injury maintenance and were without Gary Harris (right calf strain) for a ninth straight.

But the Cavaliers didn’t have key players themselves, including All-Star guard Darius Garland (fractured jaw), Evan Mobley (left knee surgery) and Caris LeVert (right wrist spain), against the Magic.

Cleveland shot 52.6% (20 of 38) from 3-point range and scored 22 points off 15 Orlando turnovers. The win marked the eighth straight for the Cavaliers as guard Sam Merrill (8 of 13 from 3) led the way with 26 off the bench.

The Magic don’t play again until Friday and will aim bounce back on the road at Memphis (Bally Sports Florida, 8).

Starting 5

With Fultz not available, guard Anthony Black earned the 29th start of his rookie campaign.

Black was inserted back into Jamahl Mosley’s starting lineup alongside Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr.

The first group shot 3 of 10 from the floor and turned the ball over twice before Mosley’s first timeout. Cleveland jumped out with a 7-0 run and never relinquished control.

Banchero missed his first 3 attempts but totaled 15 points in the first half. He finished with a team-high 18 to go with 6 assists and 3 rebounds.

Wagner, who played both games of Orlando’s back-to-back after missing eight due to a sprained right ankle, posted a 10-point third quarter to score 17 on the night.

Similarly, Carter scored 5 points in the third after 5 in the first half to total 10. Despite finishing in double figures, he missed more shots (3) in the paint than he made (2).

By the time Wagner and Carter had some success offensively, however, it was too late for Orlando.

After earning no technical fouls during the first 42 games of the season Carter picked up a tech for the second game in a row in the opening half after complaining to an official.

Suggs matched his minutes with Mitchell early and often. The Magic guard hit two 3s, one each in the second and third quarters. He failed to attempt a shot in the paint to total 6 points.

Second Unit

Missing Isaac and Harris, Orlando’s second unit was made up of Joe Ingles, Moe Wagner Caleb Houstan, Cole Anthony, and Chuma Okeke.

Moe Wagner led the bench with 15 points, 6 of which came from the free throw line.

Houstan (6 points), Anthony (5) and Ingles (2) combined for 13 points as Orlando’s bench was outscored 60-41 by Cleveland’s reserves.

Late in the game, reserve center Goga Bitadze and two-way guard Trevelin Queen entered for Orlando. Bitadze didn’t play Sunday vs. Miami after Carter returned to the starting line.

Queen (8 points) made the most of his minutes in the second half despite the final result already determined. Two-way forward Admiral Schofield also played the final 3 minutes.

Rookie Watch

Black missed his lone 3-pointer of the night and did all of his scoring in the paint or at the charity stripe.

Cutting and attacking the basket throughout, his layup at the 2:03 mark of the second frame served as Orlando’s first points in the paint during the quarter.

The Arkansas product also dished out two assists with a steal.