The Cavs haven't given great effort in every game this season, but it can't be questioned in Tuesday's loss. Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams were diving on the floor for loose balls. Varejao was punching himself in the head he was so excited and the Cavs showed more heart, guts and determination than they have since the season opener against Boston.
The Cavs lost this game at the 3-point line, which has cost them probably three or four other victories along the way as well. The Magic hit 3s when they were open and when the Cavs had hands in their faces. It's been stunning to watch all season, because usually teams sooner or later miss open looks. They can't stay hot forever. But this season against the Cavs, they have.
The Cavs are allowing opponents to make more than 42 percent of the 3-pointers they take, easily the league's worst percentage. Scott has preached all season about running shooters off the 3-point line and the Cavs haven't embraced the idea yet.
Orlando is simply much, much more talented than the Cavs. It's a credit to their hustle and determination tonight that they were even in the game entering the fourth quarter. But until the 3-point defense improves, the record certainly won't.
The Cavs have allowed 149 3-pointers this month in 14 games, with one game left to play. That's an average of 10.6 3-pointers allowed, and twice they've set the franchise record for most given up in a game. That says it all.
Antawn Jamison 21 points
Anderson Varejao 14 points, nine rebounds, five steals
Daniel Gibson 15 points
Mo Williams 14 points (all in the first quarter
Gilbert Arenas 22 points, 11 assists
Gilbert Arenas 20 points, five rebounds
Dwight Howard 12 points, six rebounds, seven turnovers
JJ Redick 14 points, 3 of 3 on 3s
The Magic made seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to blow open what was a one-point game after three.
The Cavs allowed a franchise-record 19 3-pointers, surpassing the record of 18 they allowed a few weeks ago in a 34-point loss at Minnesota.
They said it
"I don't think he gets enough credit for how hard he plays and the things he's able to do for us. There's not a guy in this league at that position that's playing better. He should be on that All-Star ballot as one of the top guys in the league." -- Cavs coach Byron Scott, on Anderson Varejao
The Cavs (8-23) travel to Charlotte Wednesday at 7.