Need For a Bounce Back
In a loss to the Orlando Magic in November, LeBron James was virtually unstoppable for the Cleveland Cavaliers before getting tied up in overtime. In his last game, however, he was done contributing after just three quarters.
James, who had one of his best performances of the season against the Magic, looks to help the Cavaliers bounce back from a disappointing effort as the teams continue their season series Monday night.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Orlando -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 196.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Orlando -9 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
James finished with 39 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds in Cleveland's 117-116 overtime loss to Orlando (32-20) on Nov. 14, but couldn't get off a shot when it mattered most.
Driving down the lane in the final seconds of OT, James was tied up by Magic swingman Hedo Turkoglu for a game-ending jump ball. James won the jump, but the ball was tipped out of bounds.
On Sunday night, meanwhile, James didn't even get to play in the fourth quarter of a 113-83 loss to Denver. The Cavs (28-22) trailed by 11 after one quarter, 18 at halftime and 26 by the end of the third.
At the end of that period, James took a seat at the far end of Cleveland's bench while coach Mike Brown held a huddle before the fourth quarter began. The All-Star forward, averaging 30.1 points, finished with 30 despite sitting out the final quarter, when the Cavs fell behind by 37 and emptied their bench.
"We know we can play better," James said. "It was one game. That's something we can fix."
Cleveland has lost two of three after winning 13 of its previous 16. The Cavaliers had been playing well despite mounting injuries, but being short-handed seems to be wearing them down.
Starting forward Drew Gooden has missed three straight games with a strained right groin, and reserve guard Daniel Gibson - the team's top long-range shooter - has been sidelined the last two contests because of a strained hamstring. The Cavs also has been without swingman Sasha Pavlovic (sprained foot) the past nine games.
Additionally, center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was forced to spend the final 12 minutes of Sunday's game getting treatment for back spasms. Even if the 7-foot-3 veteran is healthy, Cleveland will have a hard time stopping Orlando All-Star center Dwight Howard.
Howard had 35 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks in November's matchup with the Cavs. He had 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, but did not block a shot for just the third time this season as the Magic lost 117-113.
Orlando lost for the second time in its last three games despite shooting 75 percent from the field and scoring a franchise-record 44 points in the first quarter. The Magic had to shuffle their lineup when Howard and Turkoglu got into early foul trouble.
Turkoglu finished with 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting. But the eighth-year pro is having a career season, teaming with Howard to make Orlando a top contender in the Eastern Conference.
Turkoglu is averaging career highs of 19.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists.
"I think he's always had great ability - he's been one of the most versatile guys in this league since he's come in," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "You would always see flashes of great play, games where he would put it all together. This is the longest period of time that he's ever done it."
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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