Magic stun reeling Cavs 116-98

By Dick Scanlon - Associated Press

Cleveland’s Dwyane Wade (9) puts up a shot between the Magic’s Marreese Speights (5) and Shelvin Mack during Tuesday night’s game in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Jonathon Simmons scored 22 of his career-high 34 points in the third quarter and the Orlando Magic overcame a 21-point deficit Tuesday night to beat the reeling Cleveland Cavaliers, 116-98.

The Cavaliers scored 43 points in the first quarter, but then went almost 6 1/2 minutes without scoring in the fourth and lost for the 14th time in 21 games. They played the second half without coach Tyronn Lue, who went to the locker room in the second quarter with what the team said was an illness.

The Magic made their first 10 shots of the second half and won consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 8-10.

LeBron James had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Cavaliers, but did not have a rebound or an assist in a foul-plagued second half.

Evan Fournier scored 19 points for the Magic, who broke a nine-game home losing streak against Cleveland.

Simmons made seven of eight shots in his 22-point quarter, finishing the period with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie it at 92.

J.R. Smith made three 3-pointers in the first four minutes to help the Cavaliers (30-22) take a 15-4 lead and they led by 21 points late in the first half.

Cleveland shot 15 for 22, including 5 of 8 3-pointers, on its way to a 43-point first, the most points Orlando has given up in any quarter this season.

Jeff Green dunked to put the Cavaliers up 61-40 with 4:50 left in the half, but they went scoreless for almost four minutes while the Magic (17-36) sliced nine points off the lead.

James opened the second half with a couple of 3-pointers to regain a 16-point lead for Cleveland, but Simmons scored 12 points on the Magic’s 19-2 run that gave them their first lead of the game at 78-77 with 5:33 left in the third quarter.

James was called for his fourth foul just 17 seconds later and sat for more than seven minutes.

When he re-entered the game with 10:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Magic ran off 14 straight points to lead 108-92.

Dwyane Wade banked a 3-pointer for Cleveland’s only points of the first 7:25 of the fourth quarter.


Cavaliers: Wade missed the morning shootaround due to illness but played 22 minutes.

Magic: Simmons’ 22-point quarter was three points short of the franchise record set by Tracy McGrady in 2003. … F Aaron Gordon missed a fifth straight game with a strained left hip flexor and has withdrawn from the Slam Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend.


Cavaliers: Host Minnesota on Wednesday.

Magic: Host Atlanta on Thursday.

Lue leaves with illness

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue left the bench in the middle of the second quarter because of an undisclosed illness and didn’t return.

Team officials would only say that Lue had “an illness” and declined to elaborate. It is the second time this season that an illness has stopped Lue from coaching. He got sick before the start of the Cavaliers gamed on Dec. 21 game against Chicago and didn’t coach at all.

Assistant head coach Larry Drew took over for Lue with just over six minutes left in the second period on Tuesday night.

“He (Lue) said he wasn’t feeling well and was going to go back (to the locker room) for a second and he would be back,” Drew said. “We went in at halftime and checked on him and he seemed to be doing a little better, but I guess he just wasn’t feeling well enough to come back for the second half.”

The Cavaliers led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter, but got outscored 65-31 in the second half with Lue in the locker room.

“Him (Lue) being out is an excuse and I’m been around too long to make excuses like that,” Dwayne Wade said of the Cavs poor second half. “We’re the ones playing and we just got our (butts) whipped. Plain and simple as that. We got our (butts) whipped.”

Cleveland’s Dwyane Wade (9) puts up a shot between the Magic’s Marreese Speights (5) and Shelvin Mack during Tuesday night’s game in Orlando.’s Dwyane Wade (9) puts up a shot between the Magic’s Marreese Speights (5) and Shelvin Mack during Tuesday night’s game in Orlando.

By Dick Scanlon

Associated Press