Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It’s been a long time but the Cleveland Cavaliers have a winning streak – 2.
Alonzo Gee scored 19 points and Tristan Thompson added 15 more to go with 16 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers, who shot just 36 percent from the floor, to a 91-85 victory over the Orlando Magic Sunday evening at Quicken Loans Arena.
“It was a good win,” head coach Byron Scott said. “On the defensive end I thought our guys did a lot of good things just like we did in Boston and that’s why we got the win tonight.”
It’s the first back to back wins for Cleveland since Feb. 26-27 and Thompson has stepped up to score a combined 44 points while pulling down 33 rebounds in wins Friday and Sunday.
“Now you guys love us again,” Thompson said. “Just playing hard and competing. You know the season’s not over and we’re playing for pride. Coach has been stressing that and we’ve been amongst the group we have right now been playing for pride.
“It’s worked out for us the last 2 games.”
Since returning from a sprained shoulder that sidelined him a total of 9 games, Kyrie Irving is 12-51 from the floor.
“I’m probably in the worst shooting slump ever in my short career,” Irving said. “I’m not really worried about that. I’m just going to do anything I need to in order to get the win. I’m going to fight for these guys.
“Obviously my shot’s not going to fall every night, it’s the law of averages.”
He shot 3-15 Sunday but Irving, who scored 9 points to go with 10 assists, hit a key pair of free throws to put the Cavaliers up 7 at 89-82 with 1:23 to play and all but seal the victory.
Irving gave the credit for the win to Thompson and his work inside.
“He’s been awesome,” Irving said. “We’re going to keep feeding him and he’s rebounding his butt off right now.”
The 24th win of the season didn’t come easy for the Cavaliers and there was blood shed.
C.J. Miles was helped to the locker room after taking and elbow to the forehead from Nikola Vucevic which drew blood with 8:37 to play in the second quarter. Miles received 6 stitches to close the “vertical gash” and did not return. He finished with 8 points and 4 rebounds.
“I didn’t even know that I was bleeding,” Miles said. “I wasn’t sure what happened. I heard a guy in the front row say something. I looked down and saw a puddle of blood. I was about three or four seconds from passing out.”
The accidental blow to Miles’ forehead wasn’t the only injury done by Vucevic to the Cavaliers. He scored 21 points to go with 21 rebounds. Tobias Harris added 26 more to go with 12 rebounds in the loss for Orlando.
Orlando opened up an 8 point lead in the first quarter before the Cavaliers ended it with a 6-0 run to close within 24-22. They extended and 12-4 to take a 30-28 lead with 8:47 to play in the half.
The Magic went into the locker room leading 48-44 and they extended their lead back to 8 with 2:27 left in the 3rd at 66-58.
Cleveland once again cut into the lead at the end of the quarter and trailed 66-62 after 3 before rallying for their 8th victory when trailing entering the final quarter this season.
Orlando dropped their 5th straight and they have lost 13 of their last 14.
Cleveland won the season series from the Magic, who dressed 10 players Sunday, for the first time in 7 years and maybe quieted talk that the team had packed it in.
“It’s a pride thing for us,” Irving said. “We’re going to continue to finish the season strong.”