October 2, 2014

Medina
Partly cloudy
48°F

Cavs: Still in playoff hunt, Cleveland stays on hot streak

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dion Waiters scored 26 points and Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson had 20 each as the Cavaliers beat the Orlando Magic 119-98 Wednesday night.

Kyrie Irving added 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds in his first game back after missing eight with a strained left biceps. Jarrett Jack scored 13 points for the Cavs, who have won five of their last six and are trying to catch Atlanta and New York for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson dunks in the first half against Orlando. (AP PHOTO)

Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson dunks in the first half against Orlando. (AP PHOTO)

The Cavs visit the Hawks on Friday. Atlanta lost on Wednesday and New York won, leaving the Hawks and Knicks two games ahead of Cleveland. Both teams will win head-to-head tiebreakers with the Cavs, who are also highly likely to lose the tiebreaker if there is a three-way tie.

Victor Oladipo scored 16 points, Doron Lamb had 14 and Tobias Harris 11 for the Magic. Maurice Harkless was the only Orlando starter in double figures with 10 points. E’Twaun Moore also scored 10.

Every Cleveland player in uniform scored as the Cavs shot 60.5 percent in the first half and 57.7 percent for the game in rolling over a defenseless Magic team that lost its second straight.

Cleveland was 9-for-18 from beyond the 3-point line, most of them wide-open looks as Orlando struggled with defensive rotations the entire game.

Cleveland scored a season-high 70 points in the first half with four of the five starters already in double figures by halftime. Hawes was 6-for-8 in the first two periods, including 4-for-5 on 3-pointers, on his way to 18 points.

Thompson had 14, Irving 13 and Waiters 10 as the Cavs starters combined to hit 24-of-33 shots (.727) in the first two quarters. Deng was the only starter not in double figures, but still shot 4-for-5.

The Magic, by contrast, didn’t have a player score more than six points in the first half. Orlando had 11 turnovers that Cleveland turned into 16 points.

The Magic trailed 49-42 after Oladipo’s 3-pointer with 6:11 left in the second quarter, but got only one field goal the rest of the half and were outscored 21-6 as Cleveland rolled to a 70-47 halftime lead.

The closest Orlando got in the second half was 17 when Arron Afflalo’s three with 4:11 left in the third quarter made it 82-65. Afflalo, the Magic’s leading scorer this season, finished with seven points.

Cleveland responded with a 10-0 run that started with a floater in the lane by Jack and ended with two free throws by Thompson to make it 92-65.

Cleveland led by as many 28 points and cruised through the fourth quarter with little effort.