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Cavs-Magic In-Game Report

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 28, 2010

End 3Q: Magic 75, Cavs 74
* Mo Williams is putting up good numbers, but my MVP thus far is Anderson Varejao. He stole a jump ball away from the Magic after Dwight Howard won the tip, caught Hedo Turkoglu on a block (which led to an open 3 for Anthony Parker) and sank a reverse layup -- all in the span of about 47 seconds. Well played, sir.

* Varejao still struggles with the language at times and isn't very comfortable talking to the media. It's unfortunate, because he could be the Cavs' version of Josh Cribbs in this town -- the heart and hustle guy everyone loves. They still do, but it could be so much more.

* Varejao has 14 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Now wouldn't THAT be a nifty triple-double. Varejao has one less steal than J.J. Hickson has missed free throws.

* If the Cavs could defend the 3-point line AT ALL, they'd be winning this game. By a lot. They're outplaying the Magic everywhere else. Cavs beating the Magic in the paint and in fast break points. But the 3s are killing them. The Magic have 12 and counting...

Halftime: Magic 60, Cavs 57
* The Cavs seem to be trying to match the Magic 3 for 3, but they won't win the game that way. The Cavs don't have as good of shooters as the Magic do. The Cavs are 4 of 11 on 3s (1 of 6 in second quarter), while the Magic are 10 of 16.

* It's baffling to me how the Magic can seemingly ignore Dwight Howard for long stretches on offense. For all the heart and hustle of Anderson Varejao, he simply isn't strong enough to handle Howard. Yet Howard has only taken six shots and he has 10 points. Baffling.

* The Cavs are 9 of 16 at the free-throw line and giving away too many easy points. J.J. Hickson is the worst offender at 1 of 5. He and Antawn Jamison, the Cavs' power forwards, are a combined 3 of 9 at the line.

* At least Jamison has made up for it with a game-high 15 points. The knee injury from earlier doesn't appear to be bothering Jamison, who is moving well.

* Orlando's recent roster shakeup, if nothing else, seemed to deepen the bench. J.J. Redick and Gilbert Arenas are two potent shooters to bring off the bench. The two combined for 16 points in the quarter.

End 1Q: Cavs 33, Magic 30
* Not to be all Donnie Downer, but the Cavs just played a tremendous quarter, perhaps one of their best of the season (at least offensively) and they're only up three.

* Monster quarter for Mo Williams, who has 14 points and four assists and has missed only one shot. Williams was talking before the game about his comfort level in this offense and it shows. He's had five consecutive double-doubles and he's well on his way to No. 6.

* The Cavs still can't defend the 3-point line. No change there. The Magic, who assaulted the Cavs in the playoffs with 3s a couple of years ago, made 7 of 9 3-pointers in the quarter. Yes, they're on pace to make 28 3s. Not saying they will, but if they do, that's a pretty sure sign of victory.

* Shortly after entering the game, J.J. Hickson hoisted another long jumper that clanked out. Later, he was the benefactor of Anderson Varejao's hustle. Varejao didn't get an offensive rebound, but the ball kicked around long enough for Hickson to grab it and dunk it. That's where J.J. needs to spend the bulk of his time -- inside and low, not high and wide.

* Antawn Jamison crumpled to the ground like a bag of hammers after banging knees with Jameer Nelson, but after a few minutes on the bench he was able to return. Official diagnosis was a right knee contusion. His left knee was the one giving him problems before.

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