Orlando Magic Grades: Cleveland Cavaliers 109, Orlando Magic 103

The Orlando Magic were ready to push the Cleveland Cavaliers to the limit. Victor Oladipo’s career-best game had them on the ropes. But the Cavs prevailed.

Final
Orlando Magic
103
Cleveland Cavaliers
109

The Cleveland Cavaliers got pushed. That much they can say. But they also had the quiet confidence that they would finish out the game.

Never mind Victor Oladipo scoring 45 points, setting a new career high and becoming the first Magic play to hit that mark since Dwight Howard in Jan. 2012. Never mind the Magic continuing to fight back and give themselves a chance to steal a game from the Cavaliers.

Cleveland got the big shots they needed. It was Kyrie Irving making difficult 3-pointers and getting to the basket. It was LeBron James whipping the ball to the perimeter as the defense sucked in to stop him. It was Tristan Thompson scratching out a big offensive rebound.

Cleveland had all those plays. And they shut out the Orlando Magic’s best weapon on the day — Victor Oladipo — in the fourth quarter. The Magic could not get it to their other key players and their offense faltered.

That put the pressure on the Magic to execute better and finish off defensive possessions. That is when the Cavaliers thrived most and held on for the win.

VICTOR OLADIPO

SG, Orlando Magic

A

Victor Oladipo was dialed into this game from the opening tip. He had a deflection off of J.R. Smith on the first possession and then a steal for the first points of the game. He was hounding on defense and setting a tone for the Orlando Magic.

Oladipo was fantastic on both ends of the floor. Everything he did carried over. He scored a career-high 45 points and made 16 of 22 shots. He was throwing things at the rim and they were just going in. But he was aggressive too.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had to change their defense to deal with him and deny him the ball. If Oladipo did anything wrong, it was not getting others more involved or freeing himself up more in the fourth quarter. That is something he can continue to learn if he is to become this kind of player. But he was dialed in on both ends and played superbly.

Evan Fournier had something to make up for after Wednesday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. He struggled to be physical with Nicolas Batum and the bigger Batum shot over the top of him and took him to the woodshed. It was a bad game for Fournier.

He recovered, but in a somewhat unexpected way. Defensively he held his own against LeBron James, a player with the similar physicality and size he struggled with the night before. James shot just 6 for 15 for the game. The Magic were there to help, but Fournier largely did his job.

Fournier scored 18 points of his own, but struggled some with his shot. He too shot 6 for 15 from the floor. His desire to be physical also led him to commit six fouls. He used everything at his disposal to help slow James down. He did the best he could, in the end.

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EVAN FOURNIER

SF, Orlando Magic

B-

Evan Fournier had something to make up for after Wednesday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. He struggled to be physical with Nicolas Batum and the bigger Batum shot over the top of him and took him to the woodshed. It was a bad game for Fournier.

He recovered, but in a somewhat unexpected way. Defensively he held his own against LeBron James, a player with the similar physicality and size he struggled with the night before. James shot just 6 for 15 for the game. The Magic were there to help, but Fournier largely did his job.

Fournier scored 18 points of his own, but struggled some with his shot. He too shot 6 for 15 from the floor. His desire to be physical also led him to commit six fouls. He used everything at his disposal to help slow James down. He did the best he could, in the end.