Game Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Orlando Magic
Despite playing just seven players (and dressing eight with Al Harrington dressed out for the first time all season), the Magic hung around with the Memphis Grizzlies before ultimately being defeated 88-82 Friday night. The loss dropped the Magic to 15-40. The Cavs, who defeated the New Orleans Hornets 105-100 Wednesday night, are now 17-37.
Orlando’s new acquisitions – Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih – have been cleared to play. The other player Orlando traded for, forward Hakim Warrick, has been released.
These two teams have met twice this season. The Magic took the first meeting in Orlando back in November 108-104 behind 22 points from Jameer Nelson. The Cavs got some revenge two weeks ago with a 119-108 victory over the Magic. Kyrie Irving had 24 points to lead the Cavs. Irving did not play in the first matchup.
The Magic rank 27th in offensive rating (101.9), 25th in defensive rating (108.0) and play at the league’s 17th-fastest-pace (91.5). The Cavs are 24th in offensive rating (101.4), 26th in defensive rating (108.2) and play at the 14th-fastest pace (91.5).
Tip-off from Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST and will be shown locally on FS Florida.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Sean Wright, Dick Bavetta and Scott Twardoski.
The Line: Cleveland – 4.5 (202.5u)
Kyrie Irving is blossoming into of the league’s elite players. The second-year point guard is averaging 23.7 points, 5.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 47.0% from the field, 42.4% from beyond the arc and 85.3% from the free throw line.
(Andrew Melnick is a blogger for Magic Basketball Online and a contributor at SB Nation. Andrew has covered the Orlando Magic for four years and also works as a radio host. You can follow him on twitter here.)