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Feb 22, 2024 9:53 pm

Bench players lead Magic past Cavaliers

orlando magic cleveland cavaliers

The Orlando bench combined to score 63 points, led by Moritz Wagner’s 22, helping key the visiting Magic to a 116-109 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday in both teams’ return from the All-Star break.

On a night Cleveland played without its All-Star Game representative, Donovan Mitchell — scratched from the lineup shortly before tipoff with an unspecified illness — and Orlando’s Paolo Banchero missed his first six field-goal attempts, role players made the difference.

Wagner posted his highest-scoring total since notching 27 points on Nov. 24. He also matched fellow reserve Jonathan Isaac with a team-high seven rebounds.

Cole Anthony, who also came off the bench, scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and dished two of his team-high six assists in the final period. His steal and breakaway layup capped a 9-2 spurt that opened up an 11-point lead for Orlando.

Wagner hit a 3-pointer later in the quarter to extend the Magic lead to 12 points, but Cleveland halved the deficit with a Darius Garland floater and a couple of Jarrett Allen buckets at the rim.

Garland, Allen and Max Strus — starting in Mitchell’s place — each scored 18 points. Allen grabbed 10 rebounds for his 27th double-double of the season, and Garland dished 10 assists.

Orlando responded to Cleveland pulling within six points with a quick 7-2 burst, sparked by an Anthony jumper and capped when the previously struggling Banchero sank a 3-pointer. Banchero’s 12 points marked his lowest output since a 10-point game on Dec. 20.

While Banchero finished with 11 points fewer than his season average coming into Thursday’s contest, all 10 Orlando players who saw the floor scored at least seven.

Starters Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. finished in double-figures with 14 and 12 points, and Joe Ingles shot 3 of 3 from 3-point range and 4 of 4 from the floor overall en route to 12 points.

The loss was just the third in the last 21 games for Cleveland.

–Field Level Media

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