ORLANDO, FL – Sometimes there’s just too much to overcome.
This was the case for the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, dropping the first of this two-game series to the Orlando Magic, 103-83.
With the missing six-man night in, the Cavs lost less than another minute into the match, when Dante Exum knocked out with a right calf injury and didn’t return.
Exum was already starting in place of rookie Isaac Okoro, who was back in the team on the bench for the first time since December 26, but remains upset with a foot sprain. CAFs was also without young goalkeeper Darius Garland, who was sidelined due to a strain in the right shoulder and forced to watch the match from the front of the bench between the Cleveland coaches.
These absences forced coach GB Pickerstaff to change the line-up again. He used a sixth different starting lineup, Damian Dotson in place of Garland and Colin Sexton turned into point guard.
As if that wasn’t challenging enough, Exum’s early departure for Bickerstaff left only 10 playable bodies, and some players who wouldn’t do a job in normal mode. Bidirectional player used Lamar Stevens for the third time throughout the year. Marx Bolden made his fourth appearance. Dean Wade and Thon Maker both hit their season high in minutes.
Even with Orlando scoring the first ten points from the match, and the Cavs digging another early hole, the brave Bickerstaff fought – until they could no longer. They were only two points behind in the game and took their first lead in the night at 10:44 in the third quarter with Dotson digging for a triple pointer.
She was short-lived. The magic went on a 16-5 round during the next four minutes. Then they rebuilt their progression to double digits, where it remained for the rest of the game.
Colin Sexton extended his scoring streak of 20 points to seven, leading with 24 points on a 10 of 19 shot. Sidi Othman scored 18 points to go with seven assists and five rebounds. Dotson, in his debut with the Cavs, took advantage of an increased playtime. Dotson scored 16 points on 6 of 10 from the field.
Orlando’s Aaron Gordon scored a balanced attack with 24 points and 11 boards. Nikola Vucevich added 23 and eight.
Cleveland scored 34 points during the miserable and weary second half. The Cavs run out – hence two players able to take turns.
They braved the odds early in the season. But Monday night, he inflicted a pile of injuries, pig formations and players in different roles.
The Cleveland Magic will play once in Orlando on Wednesday evening. Tipoff was set at 7 p.m.
New CAVS face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Cavaliers-inspired face covers to protect against coronavirus, including 1 mask ($ 14.99) and 3-pack ($ 24.99). All proceeds from the NBA were donated to charity.
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