LeBron James' triple-double sparks Cleveland Cavaliers' rout of Orlando Magic

By The Sports Xchange  |  April 5, 2017 at 12:38 AM
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CLEVELAND -- No, really. This was a big game for the Cavaliers.

Yes, Cleveland plays the Boston Celtics on Wednesday with the two teams tied for first place in the Eastern Conference and five games left on the schedule.

But to make it so, the Cavs had to first deal with the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, and they won easily, 122-102, for their third consecutive victory.

LeBron James registered 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in 37 minutes for his 12th triple-double this season and 54th of his career during the regular season. He also had a triple-double (with 41 points) Sunday.

"Tonight was a big game, too," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. "For us to win this game to get to tomorrow's game. We understood that and in that second half we really played Cavaliers basketball. That's how we're capable of playing."

The Magic led 55-53 at halftime before the Cavs blew the doors off with nine 3-pointers and a 23-point swing in the third quarter.

Kevin Love led the Cavs with 28 points to go with 11 boards. Kyrie Irving added 24 points, and J.R. Smith produced 19 points. Smith and Love nailed five 3-pointers apiece, and Kyle Korver, playing for the first time in four games after recovering from a sore left foot, added three 3-pointers and scored 11 off the bench.

Four of Smith's 3-pointers and two of Korver's came in the third quarter.

"No one can survive that," Orlando coach Frank Vogel said.

The Cavs drained 18 3-pointers as a team and became the third squad in NBA history to make 1,000 3-pointers in a season.

Orlando was led by 21 points from Evan Fournier. The Magic have lost five straight and six of seven.

Cleveland was coming off a 135-130 double overtime win over Indiana on Sunday. James played significant minutes Tuesday while Irving and Smith each played extensively, but Lue said the plan was to play everyone against Boston.

If the Cavs win Wednesday, they would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Celtics, which mean they'd essentially hold a two-game lead.

"I think we need it," Love said. "It will be good for us and it's definitely up there, especially timing wise. It will be a good test for us and I think it will get us even more prepared, even more locked in win or lose. But we're going in, we want to win the ballgame tomorrow."

James wasn't in the mood to play up game No. 78 of the regular season.

"Taking nothing from them, they've been playing some great ball but I'm not one to get caught up in the regular season," he said. "I'm sorry. I've been to six straight Finals, man, I'm the last person to ask about a regular season game."

NOTES: Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett sat next to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and cheered for Cleveland. ... The Cavs have now defeated the Magic 17 consecutive times, the longest active winning streak for one team over another in the NBA. ... Cavs F LeBron James has now scored at least 10 points in 788 straight games and passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest such streak in league history. Only Michael Jordan (866 games) scored at least 10 in more consecutive games. ... Cavs G Kyle Korver missed 11 games total with his sore left foot. ... The Magic play three of their final four games at home. Two are against Chicago and Indiana. Both clubs are fighting for a playoff spot, so Orlando can play spoiler. ... Magic G/F Patricio Garino and G/F Marcus Georges-Hunt each played four scoreless minutes Tuesday after signing contracts with Orlando on Monday. Both players spent most of this season in the D-League.

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