National Basketball Association
Orlando at Cleveland
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 18, 2018
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
The Cleveland Cavaliers are losers of four straight and eight of their last 10 games, and trade rumors are already beginning. The Cavaliers will try to put their internal squabbles behind and snap the slide when they host the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
Anonymous leaks to the media have several players on the team doubting that the roster as currently constructed can solve some of the issues that plague Cleveland, especially on the defensive end. The Cavaliers are 28th in the NBA in defensive rating entering play on Wednesday and allowed at least 118 points in four of their last five games while trying to work 5-9 point guard Isaiah Thomas into the scheme. Cleveland's last win came at Orlando on Jan. 6, 131-127, and was part of a seven-game slide for the Magic that ended with a 108-102 win over Minnesota on Tuesday. "We have been playing a lot of good basketball the last two weeks, but we've been losing games," Magic center Bismack Biyombo told the team's website. "Are we better than the record says? We all know that, but the truth of the matter is we've got to face the reality. The result is what it is, but we've got to find a way to keep pulling out these kinds of wins and who knows what could happen."
7 p.m. ET, FS Florida (Orlando), FS Ohio (Cleveland)ABOUT THE MAGIC (13-31):
Orlando was able to snap its losing streak on Tuesday thanks to a career-high 32 points from Evan Fournier and a strong effort in the middle. Biyombo and Khem Birch, who was playing in his eighth career NBA game, combined for 22 points and 26 rebounds. "We have good players and when you look at the roster, you don't (think), 'Oh, they should only have 13 wins," Fournier told reporters. "The reality (of the record) is different, but when we play like this -- we play hard, with enthusiasm and with a purpose, it makes a huge difference. We have to keep playing like this. We have about 40 games left, and we have to try and fight. Just try and compete."
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (26-17):
Thomas is struggling at both ends of the floor through his first five games with his new team and is shooting 36.1 percent from the field, including 23.3 percent from 3-point range. Thomas played a season-high 32 minutes in Monday's 118-108 loss to the Golden State Warriors but needed 21 shots to reach 19 points. "I just want him to take the shots that are given to him," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue told reporters of Thomas. "Not forcing shots, but if someone, whoever is on the team that can shoot the basketball, if they're open 21 times, then take your shots. It's not about the amount of shots, it's the amount of good shots. If they're your shots, then you've got to be ready to take them."BUZZER BEATERS
1. Cavaliers SF LeBron James is 3-of-15 from 3-point range over the last four games.
2. Magic SG Arron Afflalo was involved in a fight on Tuesday and could be facing a league suspension.
3. Orlando snapped a 17-game losing streak in the series with a 114-93 win at Cleveland on Oct. 21.PREDICTION:
Cavaliers 115, Magic 109
Stats and Records