Already Playoff Ready
With the regular season winding down, they're starting to look like they don't have much left to play for.
The Magic and Cavaliers will each look to avoid their fifth loss in seven games when they meet Saturday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Cleveland -2point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 197.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on Orlando +2 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Orlando (47-28) is essentially locked into the East's No. 3 seed, having wrapped up the Southeast Division earlier this week. With Detroit too far ahead to get the second spot and fourth-place Cleveland (42-34) trailing the Magic by 5 1/2 games, Stan Van Gundy's team realistically is just playing to stay sharp heading into the playoffs.
The Magic lost for the fourth time in six games on Tuesday, letting a nine-point halftime advantage against Western Conference-leading New Orleans slip away in a 98-97 defeat.
Orlando, which features the NBA's leading rebounder in Dwight Howard, was outrebounded 51-30 by the Hornets.
"They just really outworked us on the glass," Van Gundy said. "That kind of effort on the glass simply will not get it done."
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, lost three straight from March 22-29, but appeared to be on the way to their third win in a row on Thursday, leading Chicago by 17 points in the third quarter. But they scored just 13 in the fourth and lost 101-98.
LeBron James, who had 32 points in the first 36 minutes, had only one in the final 12.
"Being up 17 or being up one, you still have to execute," James said. "It's a little frustrating but at the same time you have to learn from it."
Cleveland is a few games ahead of three teams for the East's No. 4 seed.
Of greater concern than the loss to Chicago was the back spasms James suffered late in the game. He left the floor briefly in the fourth quarter to get treatment, and was wincing in pain during timeouts.
"It was tough to do some of the things that I wanted to do," he said. "Hopefully I can try and get it better and get it ready for Saturday."
James is nearly averaging a triple-double in three games against Orlando this season - 32.7 points, 10.0 assists and 9.7 rebounds - but the Cavaliers have lost two of three.
Back problems are nothing new to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who missed seven games at the beginning of March due to a strained back. But Cleveland's 7-foot-3 center is averaging 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in his last eight games.
Ilgauskas, however, has scored only nine points in his last two games against the Magic.
A lot of those struggles were due to the play of Howard, who is averaging 24.7 points and 12.7 rebounds against Cleveland.
"No matter when you play him, he is a handful," Ilgauskas said after Howard scored 23 points in Orlando's 104-90 win on March 17. "It is not a one-man job."
The Magic take more 3-pointers than any team in the East, and hit 14 in that win - including three apiece from Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.
Lewis is shooting 55.2 percent from beyond the arc in his last five games, and Turkoglu 58.1 percent in his last seven.
Orlando has won five of seven in the series, including its last two in Cleveland.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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